SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE
AUTHOR OF "THE WHITE COMPANY," "THE ADVENTURES
OP SHERLOCK HOLMES.'J ETC.
HODDER & STOUGHTON,
GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY
BY A. CO NAN DOYLE
Mr. E. D. Malone desires to state that
loth the injunction for restraint and the
libel action have been withdrawn unre-
servedly by Professor G. E. Challenger,
who, being satisfied that no criticism or
comment in this book is meant in an offen-
sive spirit^ has guaranteed that he will
place no impediment to its publication and
I. "THERE ARE HEROISMS ALL ROUND Us" 3
II. "TRY YOUR LUCK WITH PROFESSOR CHALLENGER". . . 12
III. "HE is A PERFECTLY IMPOSSIBLE PERSON" 22
IV. "IT'S JUST THE VERY BIGGEST THING IN THE WORLD" . 33
V. "QUESTION!" 56
VI. "I WAS THE FLAIL OF THE LORD" 75
VII. " TO-MORROW WE DISAPPEAR INTO THE UNKNOWN" . . 89
VIII. "THE OUTLYING PICKETS OF THE NEW WORLD" ... 103
IX. "WHO COULD HAVE FORESEEN IT?" 121
X. "THE MOST WONDERFUL THINGS HAVE HAPPENED" . . 154
XI. "FOR ONCE I WAS THE HfiRO " 174
XII. "!T WAS DREADFUL IN THE FOREST" 197
XIII. "A SIGHT I SHALL NEVER FORGET" 218
XIV. "THOSE WERE THE REAL CONQUESTS" 239
XV. "OuR EYES HAVE SEEN GREAT WONDERS" 260
XVI. "A PROCESSION! A PROCESSION!" 284
"I have a Presentiment that you are going to Propose, Ned" Frontispiece
We did a Catharine- wheel together down the Passage ... 30
A Distant View of the Plateau 52
" Pedro Lopez, the King of them til, that I Killed on the
Putomayo River*' 82
Malone's Rough Map of the Journey to the Cliffs . . . . 104
It was the First Direct Corroboration of the Truth of Professor
Challenger's Story no
"It's Blocked!" 132
We could only Stand there Staring in Amazement .... 148
The Swamp of the Pterodactyls 1 68
I Read Hatred and Menace in the Evil Eyes 190
Rough Chart of Maple White Land 202
Two of his Guards Caught him by the Wrists and Pulled him
Brutally to the Front 232
The Plateau 262
"The Moon, by George!" cried Lord John. "We are
through, Boys!" 280
Five Thousand People Awaited the Arrival of the Travelers . 288
" Don't you Think all This is a Little too Personal? "... 306
THE LOST WORLD
The Lost World
" There Are Heroisms All Round Us"
MR. HUNGERTON, her father, really was
the most tactless person upon earth,
a fluffy, feathery, untidy cockatoo of a
man, perfectly good-natured, but absolutely
centered upon his own silly self. If anything
could have driven me from Gladys, it would have
been the thought of such a father-in-law. I am
convinced that he really believed in his heart that
I came round to The Chestnuts three days a week
for the pleasure of his company, and very espe-
cially to hear his views upon bimetallism, a subject
upon which he was by way of being an authority.
For an hour or more that evening I listened to
his monotonous chirrup about bad money driving
out good, the token value of silver, the depreciation
of the rupee, and the true standards of exchange.
"Suppose," he cried with feeble violence, "that
all the debts in the world were called up simul-
taneously, and immediate payment insisted upon,
what under our present conditions would
I gave the self-evident answer that I should be
a ruined man, upon which he jumped from his
chair, reproved me for my habitual levity, which
4 The Lost World
made it impossible for him to discuss any reason-
able subject in my presence, and bounced off out
of the room to dress for a Masonic meeting.
At last I was alone with Gladys, and the mo-
ment of Fate had come! All that evening I had
felt like the soldier who awaits the signal which
will send him on a forlorn hope; hope of victory
and fear of repulse alternating in his mind.
She sat with that proud, delicate profile of hers
outlined against the red curtain. How beautiful
she was! And yet how aloof! We had been
friends, quite good friends; but never could I get
beyond the same comradeship which I might have
established with one of my fellow-reporters upon
the Gazette, perfectly frank, perfectly kindly,
and perfectly unsexual. My instincts are all
against a woman being too frank and at her
ease with me. It is no compliment to a man.
Where the real sex feeling begins, timidity and
distrust are its companions, heritage from old
wicked days when love and violence went often
hand in hand. The bent head, the averted eye,
the faltering voice, the wincing figure these,
and not the unshrinking gaze and frank reply, are
the true signals of passion. Even in my short life
I had learned as much as that or had inherited
it in that race memory which we call instinct.
Gladys was full of every womanly quality.
Some judged her to be cold and hard; but such a
thought was treason. That delicately bronzed
skin, almost oriental in its coloring, that raven
hair, the large liquid eyes, the full but exquisite
There Are Heroisms All Round Us 5
lips, all the stigmata of passion were there. But
I was sadly conscious that up to now I had never
found the secret of drawing it forth. However,
come what might, I should have done with sus-
pense and bring matters to a head to-night. She
could but refuse me, and better be a repulsed lover
than an accepted brother.
CO far my thoughts had carried me, and I was
about to break the long and uneasy silence,
when two critical, dark eyes looked round at
me,'and the proud head was shaken in smiling re-
proof. "I have a presentiment that you are going
to propose, Ned. I do wish you wouldn't; for
things are so much nicer as they are."
I drew my chair a little nearer. "Now, how
did you know that I was going to propose?" I
asked in genuine wonder.
"Don't women always know? Do you suppose
any woman in the world was ever taken unawares ?
But oh, Ned, our friendship has been so good
and so pleasant! What a pity to spoil it! Don't
you feel how splendid it is that a young man and
a young woman should be able to talk face to
face as we have talked?"
"I don't know, Gladys. You see, I can talk
face to face with with the station-master." I
can't imagine how that official came into the
matter; but in he trotted, and set us both laugh-
ing. "That does not satisfy me in the least. I
want my arms round you, and your head on my
breast, and oh, Gladys, I want "
6 The Lost World
She had sprung from her chair, as she saw signs
that I proposed to demonstrate some of my wants.
" YouVe spoiled everything, Ned," she said. "It's
all so beautiful and natural until this kind of
thing comes in! It is such a pity! Why can't
you control yourself?"
"I didn't invent it," I pleaded. "It's nature.
"Well, perhaps if both love, it may be different.
I have never felt it."
" But you must you, with your beauty, with
your soul! Oh, Gladys, you were made for love!
You must love!"
"One must wait till it comes."
"But why can't you love me, Gladys? Is it
my appearance, or what?"
She did unbend a little. She put forward a
hand such a gracious, stooping attitude it was
and she pressed back my head. Then she
looked into my upturned face with a very wistful
"No, it isn't that," she said at last. "You're
not a conceited boy by nature, and so I can safely
tell you it is not that. It's deeper."
She nodded severely.
"What can I do to mend it? Do sit down and
talk it over. No, really, I won't if you'll only sit
She looked at me with a wondering distrust
which was much more to my mind than her whole-
hearted confidence. How primitive and bestial
There Are Heroisms All Round Us 7
it looks when you put it down in black and white !
and perhaps after all it is only a feeling peculiar
to myself. Anyhow, she sat down.
"Now tell me what's amiss with me?"
"I'm in love with somebody else," said'she.
It was my turn to jump out of my chair.
"It's nobody in particular," she explained,
laughing at the expression of my face: "only an
ideal. I've never met the kind of man I mean."
"Tell me about him. What does he look like?"
"Oh, he might look very much like you."
"How dear of you to say that! Well, what is it
that he does that I don't do ? Just say the word,
teetotal, vegetarian, aeronaut, theosophist,
superman. I'll have a try at it, Gladys, if you
will only give me an idea what would please you."
CHE laughed at the elasticity of my character.
"Well, in the first place, I don't think my ideal
would speak like that," said she. "He would
be a harder, sterner man, not so ready to adapt
himself to a silly girl's whim. But, above all, he
must be a man who could do, who could act, who
could look Death in the face and have no fear of
him, a man of great deeds and strange experiences.
It is never a man that I should love, but always
the glories he had won; for they would be reflected
upon me. Think of Richard Burton! When I
read his wife's life of him I could so understand
her love! And Lady Stanley! Did you ever read
the wonderful last chapter of that book about her
husband? These are the sort of men that a
8 The Lost World
woman could worship with all her soul, and yet be
the greater, not the less, on account of her love,
honored by all the world as the inspirer of noble
She looked so beautiful in her enthusiasm that
I nearly brought down the whole level of the inter-
view. I gripped myself hard, and went on with
"We can't all be Stanleys and Burtons/' said I;
"besides, we don't get the chance, at least, I
never had the chance. If I did, I should try to
"But chances are all around you. It is the
mark of the kind of man I mean that he makes his
own chances. You can't hold him back. I've
never met him, and yet I seem to know him so
well. There are heroisms all round us waiting to
be done. It's for men to do them, and for women
to reserve their love as a reward for such men.
Look at that young Frenchman who went up last
week in a balloon. It was blowing a gale of wind ;
but because he was announced to go he insisted
on starting. The wind blew him fifteen hundred
miles in twenty-four hours, and he fell in the middle
of Russia. That was the kind of man I mean.
Think of the woman he loved, and how other
women must have envied her! That's what I
should like to be, envied for my man."
"I'd have done it to please you."
"But you shouldn't do it merely to please me.
You should do it because you can't help yourself,
because it's natural to you, because the man in
There Are Heroisms All Round Us 9
you is crying out for heroic expression. Now,
when you described the Wigan coal explosion last
month, could you not have gone down and helped
those people, in spite of the choke-damp?"
"You never said so."
"There was nothing worth bucking about."
"I didn't know." She looked at me with rather
more interest. "That was brave of you."
"I had to. If you want to write good copy,
you must be where the things are."
"What a prosaic motive! It seems to take all
the romance out of it. But, still, whatever your
motive, I am glad that you went down that
mine." She gave me her hand; but with such
sweetness and dignity that I could only stoop and
kiss it. "I dare say I am merely a foolish woman
with a young girl's fancies. And yet it is so real
with me, so entirely part of my very self, that I
cannot help acting upon it. If I marry, I do
want to marry a famous man!"
"Why should you not?" I cried. "It is women
like you who brace men up. Give me a chance,
and see if I will take it! Besides, as you say,
men ought to make their own chances, and not
wait until they are given. Look at Clive just a
clerk, and he conquered India! By George! I'll
do something in the world yet!"
She laughed at my sudden Irish effervescence.
"Why not?" she said. "You have everything a
man could have, youth, health, strength, edu-
cation, energy. I was sorry you spoke. And now
10 The Lost World
I am glad so glad if it wakens these thoughts
"And if I do"
Her dear hand rested like warm velvet upon my
lips. "Not another word, Sir! You should have
been at the office for evening duty half an hour ago ;
only I hadn't the heart to remind you. Some day,
perhaps, when you have won your place in the
world, we shall talk it over again."
STO so it was that I found myself that foggy
November evening pursuing the Camberwell
tram with my heart glowing within me, and
with the eager determination that not another day
should elapse before I should find some deed
which was worthy of my lady. But who who
in all this wide world could ever have imagined
the incredible shape which that deed was to take,
or the strange steps by which I was led to the doing
And, after all, this opening chapter will seem
to the reader to have nothing to do with my
narrative; and yet there would have been no
narrative without it, for it is only when a man goes
out into the world with the thought that there are
heroisms all round him, and with the desire all
alive in his heart to follow any which may come
within sight of him, that he breaks away as I did
from the life he knows, and ventures forth into
the wonderful mystic twilight land where lie the
great adventures and the great rewards. Behold
me, then, at the office of the Daily Gazette,
There Are Heroisms All Round Us 11
on the staff of which I was a most insignificant
unit, with the settled determination that very
night, if possible, to find the quest which should be
worthy of my Gladys! Was it hardness, was
it selfishness, that she should ask me to risk my
life for her own glorification? Such thoughts
may come to middle age; but never to ardent
three-and-twenty in the fever of his first love.
"Try Your Luck with Professor Challenger"
I ALWAYS liked McArdle, the crabbed, old,
round-backed, red-headed news editor, and I
rather hoped that he liked me. Of course,
Beaumont was the real boss ; but he lived in the
rarefied atmosphere of some Olympian height
from which he could distinguish nothing smaller
than an international crisis or a split in the
Cabinet. Sometimes we saw him passing in
lonely majesty to his inner sanctum, with his eyes
staring vaguely and his mind hovering over the
'Balkans or the Persian Gulf. He was above and
beyond us. But McArdle was his first lieutenant,
and it was he that we knew. The old man
nodded as I entered the room, and he pushed his
spectacles far up on his bald forehead.
"Well, Mr. Malone, from all I hear, you seem
to be doing very well," said he in his kindly Scotch
I thanked him.
"The colliery explosion was excellent. So was
the Southward fire. You have the true des-
creeptive touch. What did you want to see me
"To ask a favor."
Try Your Luck 13
He looked alarmed, and his eyes shunned mine.
"Tut, tut! What is it?"
"Do you think, Sir, that you could possibly send
me on some mission for the paper? I would do
my best to put it through and get you some good
"What sort of meesion had you in your mind,
"Well, Sir, anything that had adventure and
danger in it. I really would do my very best. The
more difficult it was, the better it would suit me."
"You seem very anxious to lose your life."
"To justify my life, Sir."
"Dear me, Mr. Malone, this is very very
exalted. I'm afraid the day for this sort of thing
is rather past. The expense of the 'special
meesion' business hardly justifies the result, and,
of course, in any case it would only be an experi-
enced man with a name that would command
public confidence who would get such an order.
The big blank spaces in the map are all being
filled in, and there's no room for romance anywhere.
Wait a bit, though!" he added, with a sudden
smile upon his face. "Talking of the blank spaces
of the map gives me an idea. What about expos-
ing a fraud a modern Munchausen and mak-
ing him rideeculous? You could show him up
as the liar that he is ! Eh, man, it would be fine.
How does it appeal to you?*'
"Anything anywhere I care nothing."
McArdle was plunged in thought for some
14 The Lost World
"I wonder whether you could get on friendly
or at least on talking terms with the fellow," he
said, at last. "You seem to have a sort of genius
for establishing relations with people seem-
pathy, I suppose, or animal magnetism, or youth-
ful vitality, or something. I am conscious of it
"You are very good, sir."
" So why should you not try your luck with Pro-
fessor Challenger, of Enmore Park?"
I dare say I looked a little startled.
" Challenger ! " I cried. " Professor Challenger,
the famous zoologist! Wasn't he the man who
broke the skull of Blundell, of the Telegraph?"
The news editor smiled grimly.
"Do you mind? Didn't you say it was adven-
tures you were after?"
"It is all in the way of business, sir," I answered.
"Exactly. I don't suppose he can always be so
violent as that. I'm thinking that Blundell got
him at the wrong moment, maybe, or in the wrong
fashion. You may have better luck, or more tact
in handling him. There's something in your line
there, I am sure, and the Gazette should work it."
"I really know nothing about him," said I.
"I only remember his name in connection with
the police-court proceedings, for striking Blundell."
"I have a few notes for your guidance, Mr.
Malone. I've had my eye on the Professor for
some little time." He took a paper from a drawer.
"Here is a summary of his record. I give it you
Try Your Luck 15
"'Challenger, George Edward. Born: Largs,
N. B., 1863. Educ.: Largs Academy; Edinburgh
University. British Museum Assistant, 1892. As-
sistant-Keeper of Comparative Anthropology
Department, 1 893 . Resigned after acrimonious Cor-
respondence same year. Winner of Crayston Medal
for Zoological Research. Foreign Member of '
well, quite a lot of things, a^out two inches of
small type * Societe Beige, American Academy
of Sciences, La Plata, etc., etc. Ex-President
Palaeontological Society. Section H, British Asso-
ciation' so on, so on! 'Publications: "Some
Observations Upon a Series of Kalmuck Skulls";
"Outlines of Vertebrate Evolution"; and numer-
ous papers, including "The underlying fallacy of
Weissmannism," which caused heated discussion
at the Zoological Congress of Vienna. Recrea-
tions: Walking, Alpine climbing. Address: En-
more Park, Kensington, W/
"There, take it with you. I've nothing more
for you to-night."
I pocketed the slip of paper.
"One moment, sir," I said, as I realized that it
was a pink bald head, and not a red face, which
was fronting me. "I am not very clear yet why
I am to interview this gentleman. What has he
The face flashed back again.
"Went to South America on a solitary expedee-
tion two years ago. Came back last year. Had
undoubtedly been to South America, but refused
to say exactly where. Began to tell his adventures
16 The Lost World
in a vague way, but somebody started to pick
holes, and he just shut up like an oyster. Some-
thing wonderful happened or the man's a cham-
pion liar, which is the more probable supposeetion.
Had some damaged photographs, said to be fakes.
Got so touchy that he assaults anyone who asks
questions, and heaves reporters doun the stairs.
In my opinion he's just a homicidal megalomaniac
with a turn for science. That's your man, Mr.
Malone. Now, off you run, and see what you
can make of him. You're big enough to look after
yourself. Anyway, you are all safe. Employers'
Liability Act, you know."
A grinning red face turned once more into a
pink oval, fringed with gingery fluff; the inter-
view was at an end.
I walked across to the Savage Club, but instead
of turning into it I leaned upon the railings of
Adelphi Terrace and gazed thoughtfully for a long
time at the brown, oily river. I can always think
most sanely and clearly in the open air. I took
out the list of Professor Challenger's exploits, and
I read it over under the electric lamp. Then I
had what I can only regard as an inspiration. As
a Pressman, I felt sure from what I had been told
that I could never hope to get into touch with this
cantankerous Professor. But these recrimina-
tions, twice mentioned in his skeleton biog-
raphy, could only mean that he was a fanatic in
science. Was there not an exposed margin there
upon which he might be accessible? I would
Try Your Luck 17
I entered the club. It was just after eleven,
and the big room was fairly full, though the rush
had not yet set in. I noticed a tall, thin, angular
man seated in an arm-chair by the fire. He turned
as I drew my chair up to him. It was the man
of all others whom I should have chosen Tarp
Henry, of the staff of Nature, a thin, dry, leathery
creature, who was full, to those who knew him,
of kindly humanity. I plunged instantly into
"What do you know of Professor Chal-
"Challenger?" He gathered his brows in scien-
tific disapproval. "Challenger was the man who
came with some cock-and-bull story from South
"Oh, it was rank nonsense about some queer
animals he had discovered. I believe he has
retracted since. Anyhow, he has suppressed it
all. He gave an interview to Reuter's, and there
was such a howl that he saw it wouldn't do. It
was a discreditable business. There were one
or two folk who were inclined to take him seriously,
but he soon choked them off."
"Well, by his insufferable rudeness and impos-
sible behavior. There was poor old Wadley, of the
Zoological Institute. Wadley sent a message:
'The President of the Zoological Institute presents
his compliments to Professor Challenger, and
would take it as a personal favor if he would do
18 The Lost World
them the honor to come to their next meeting/
The answer was unprintable."
"You don't say?"
"Well, a bowdlerized version of it would run:
* Professor Challenger presents his compliments to
the President of the Zoological Institute, and
would take it as a personal favor if he would go
to the devil/"
'-, "Yes, I expect that's what old Wadley said. I
remember his wail at the meeting, which began
'In fifty years experience of scientific intercourse
' It quite broke the old man up."
" Anything more about Challenger ? "
"Well, I'm a bacteriologist, you know. I live in
a nine-hundred-diameter microscope. I can hardly
claim to take serious notice of anything that I can
see with my naked eye. I'm a frontiersman from
the extreme edge of the Knowable, and I feel quite
out of place when I leave my study and come into
touch with all you great, rough, hulking creatures.
I'm too detached to talk scandal, and yet at
scientific conversaziones I have heard something
of Challenger, for he is one of those men whom
nobody can ignore. He's as clever as they make
'em a full-charged battery of force and vitality,
but a quarrelsome, ill-conditioned faddist, and
unscrupulous at that. He had gone the length
of faking some photographs over the South Ameri-
"You say he is a faddist. What is his particular
Try Your Luck 19
"He has a thousand, but the latest is something
about Weissmann and Evolution. He had a
fearful row about it in Vienna, I believe."
"Can't you tell me the point?"
"Not at the moment, but a translation of the
proceedings exists. We have it filed at the office.
Would you care to come?"
"It's just what I want. I have to interview the
fellow, and I need some lead up to him. It's really
awfully good of you to give me a lift. I'll go with
you now, if it is not too late."
JJALF an hour later I was seated in the news-
paper office with a huge tome in front of me,
which had been opened at the article "Weiss-
mann versus Darwin," with the sub-heading,
"Spirited Protest at Vienna. Lively Proceed-
ings." My scientific education having been some-
what neglected, I was unable to follow the whole
argument, but it was evident that the English
Professor had handled his subject in a very
aggressive fashion, and had thoroughly annoyed
his Continental colleagues. " Protests," " Uproar,"
and "General appeal to the Chairman" were three
of the first brackets which caught my eye. Most of
the matter might have been written in Chinese for
any definite meaning that it conveyed to my brain.
"I wish you could translate it into English for
me," I said, pathetically, to my help-mate.
"Well, it is a translation."
"Then I'd better try my luck with the original."
20 The Lost World
"It is certainly rather deep for a layman."
" If I could only get a single good, meaty sentence
which seemed to convey some sort of definite
human idea, it would serve my turn. Ah, yes,
this one will do. I seem in a vague way almost
to understand it. I'll copy it out. This shall
be my link with the terrible Professor."
"Nothing else I can do?"
"Well, yes; I propose to write to him. If I
could frame the letter here, and use your address
it would give atmosphere."
"We'll have the fellow round here making a row
and breaking the furniture."
"No, no; you'll see the letter nothing con-
tentious, I assure you."
"Well, that's my chair and desk. You'll find
paper there. I'd like to censor it before it goes."
It took some doing, but I flatter myself that it
wasn't such a bad job when it was finished. I
read it aloud to the critical bacteriologist with
some pride in my handiwork.
"DEAR PROFESSOR CHALLENGER," it said, "As a
humble student of Nature, I have always taken the most
profound interest in your speculations as to the differ-
ences between Darwin and Weissmann. I have recently
had occasion to refresh my memory by re-reading "
"You infernal liar!" murmured Tarp Henry.
"by re-reading your masterly address at
Vienna. That lucid and admirable statement seems
to be the last word in the matter. There is one sen-
tence in it, however namely: 'I protest strongly
against the insufferable and entirely dogmatic asser-
Try Your Luck 21
tion that each separate id is a microcosm possessed
of an historical architecture elaborated slowly through
the series of generations/ Have you no desire, in
view of later research, to modify this statement?
Do you not think that it is over-accentuated ? With
your permission, I would ask the favor of an inter-
view, as I feel strongly upon the subject, and have
certain suggestions which I could only elaborate in a
personal conversation. With your consent, I trust
to have the honor of calling at eleven o'clock the day
after to-morrow (Wednesday) morning.
"I remain, Sir, with assurances of profound respect,
yours very truly, EDWARD D. M ALONE."
" How's that?" I asked, triumphantly.
"Well, if your conscience can stand it "
"It has never failed me yet."
"But what do you mean to do?"
"To get there. Once I am in his room I may see
some opening. I may even go the length of open
confession. If he is a sportsman he will be tickled."
"Tickled, indeed! He's much more likely to do
the tickling. Chain mail, or an American football
suit that's what you'll want. Well, good-bye.
I'll have the answer for you here on Wednes-
day morning if he ever deigns to answer
you. He is a violent, dangerous, cantankerous
character, hated by everyone who comes across
him, and the butt of the students, so far as they
dare take a liberty with him. Perhaps it would
be best for you if you never heard from the fellow
"He is a Perfectly Impossible Person"
MY friend's fear or hope was not des-
tined to be realized. When I called on
Wednesday there was a letter with the
West Kensington postmark upon it, and my name
scrawled across the envelope in a handwriting
which looked like a barbed-wire railing. The
contents were as follows:
"ENMORE PARK, W.
"SiR, I have duly received your note, in which
you claim to endorse my views, although I am not
aware that they are dependent upon endorsement
either from you or anyone else. You have ventured
to use the word 'speculation' with regard to my state-
ment upon the subject of Darwinism, and I would
call your attention to the fact that such a word in such
a connection is offensive to a degree. The context
convinces me, however, that you have sinned rather
through ignorance and tactlessness than through
malice, so I am content to pass the matter by. You
quote an isolated sentence from my lecture, and
appear to have some difficulty in understanding it.
I should have thought that only a sub-human intelli-
gence could have failed to grasp the point, but if it
really needs amplification I shall consent to see you
at the hour named, though visits and visitors of every
He Is Perfectly Impossible 23
sort are exceeding distasteful to me. As to your
suggestion that I may modify my opinion, I would
have you know that it is not my habit to do so after
a deliberate expression of my mature views. You
will kindly show the envelope of this letter to my
man, Austin, when you call, as he has to take every
precaution to shield me from the intrusive rascals
who call themselves 'journalists/
"GEORGE EDWARD CHALLENGER."
This was the letter that I read aloud to Tarp
Henry, who had come down early to hear the
result of my venture. His only remark was,
"There's some new stuff, cuticura or something,
which is better than arnica/* Some people have
such extraordinary notions of humor.
TT was nearly half-past ten before I had received
my message, but a taxicab took me round in good
time for my appointment. It was an imposing
porticoed house at which we stopped, and the
heavily-curtained windows gave every indication
of wealth upon the part of this formidable Pro-
fessor. The door was opened by an odd, swarthy,
dried-up person of uncertain age, with a dark
pilot jacket and brown leather gaiters. I found
afterwards that he was the chauffeur, who filled
the gaps left by a succession of fugitive butlers.
He looked me up and down with a searching light
"Expected?" he asked.
24 The Lost World
"Got your letter?"
I produced the envelope.
"Right!" He seemed to be a person of few
words. Following him down the passage I was
suddenly interrupted by a small woman, who
stepped out from what proved to be the dining-
room door. She was a bright, vivacious, dark-
eyed lady, more French than English in her type.
"One moment," she said. "You can wait,
Austin. Step in here, sir. May I ask if you have
met my husband before?"
"No, madam, I have not had the honor."
"Then I apologize to you in advance. I must
tell you that he is a perfectly impossible person
absolutely impossible. If you are forewarned
you will be the more ready to make allowances."
"It is most considerate of you, Imadam."
" Get quickly out of the room if he seems inclined
to be violent. Don't wait to argue with him.
Several people have been injured through doing
that. Afterwards there is a public scandal and
it reflects upon me and all of us. I suppose it
wasn't about South America you wanted to see
I could not lie to a lady.
" Dear me ! That is his most dangerous subject.
You won't believe a word he says I'm sure I
don't wonder. But don't tell him so, for it makes
him very violent. Pretend to believe him, and
you may get through all right. Remember he
believes it himself. Of that you may be assured.
A more honest man never lived. Don't wait any
He Is Perfectly Impossible 25
longer or he may suspect. If you find him danger-
ous really dangerous ring the bell and hold
him off until I come. Even at his worst I can
usually control him."
these encouraging words the lady handed
me over to the taciturn Austin, who had
waited like a bronze statue of discretion during
our short interview, and I was conducted to the
end of the passage. There was a tap at a door,
a bull's bellow from within, and I was face to face
with the Professor.
He sat in a rotating chair behind a broad table,
which was covered with books, maps, and dia-
grams. As I entered, his seat spun round to face
me. His appearance made me gasp. I was
prepared for something strange, but not for so
overpowering a personality as this. It was his
size which took one's breath away his size and
his imposing presence. His head was enormous,
the largest I have ever seen upon a human being.
I am sure that his top-hat, had I ever ventured
to don it, would have slipped over me entirely and
rested on my shoulders. He had the face and
beard which I associate with an Assyrian bull;
the former florid, the latter so black as almost
to have a suspicion of blue, spade-shaped and
rippling down over his chest. The hair was
peculiar, plastered down in front in a long, curving
wisp over his massive forehead. The eyes were
blue-gray under great black tufts, very clear, very
critical, and very masterful. A huge spread of
26 The Lost World
shoulders and a chest like a barrel were the other
parts of him which appeared above the table, save
for two enormous hands covered with long black
hair. This and a bellowing, roaring, rumbling
voice made up my first impression of the notorious
"Well?" said he, with a most insolent stare.
I must keep up my deception for at least a little
time longer, otherwise here was evidently an end of
"You were good enough to give me an ap-
pointment, sir," said I, humbly, producing his
He took my letter from his desk and laid it out
"Oh, you are the young person who cannot
understand plain English, are you? My general
conclusions you are good enough to approve, as I
"Entirely, sir entirely!" I was very em-
"Dear me! That strengthens my position very
much, does it not? Your age and appearance
make your support doubly valuable. Well, at
least you are better than that herd of swine in
Vienna, whose gregarious grunt is, however, not
more offensive than the isolated effort of the
British hog." He glared at me as the present
representative of the beast.
"They seem to have behaved abominably,"
He Is Perfectly Impossible 27
"I assure you that I can fight my own battles,
and that I have no possible need of your sympathy.
Put me alone, sir, and with my back to the wall.
G. E. C. is happiest then. Well, sir, let us do
what we can to curtail this visit, which can hardly
be agreeable to you, and is inexpressibly irksome
to me. You had, as I have been led to believe,
some comments to make upon the proposition
which I advanced in my thesis/'
There was a brutal directness about his methods
which made evasion difficult. I must still make
play and wait for a better opening. It had seemed
simple enough at a distance. Oh, my Irish wits,
could they not help me now, when I needed help
so sorely? He transfixed me with two sharp,
steely eyes. "Come, come!" he rumbled.
"I am, of course, a mere student," said I, with a
fatuous smile, "hardly more, I might say, than an
earnest inquirer. At the same time, it seemed to
me that you were a little severe upon Weissmann
in this matter. Has not the general evidence
since that date tended to well, to strengthen
"What evidence?" He spoke with a menacing
"Well, of course,! am aware that there is not any
what you might call definite evidence. I alluded
merely to the trend of modern thought and the
general scientific point of view, if I might so
He leaned forward with great earnestness.
"I suppose you are aware," said he, checking
28 The Lost World
off points upon his fingers, "that the cranial index
is a constant factor?"
"Naturally," said I.
"And that telegony is still sub judice?"
"And that the germ plasm is different from the
"Why, surely!" I cried, and gloried in my own
"But what does that prove?" he asked, in a
gentle, persuasive voice.
" Ah, what indeed ? " I murmured. " What does
"Shall I tell you?" he cooed.
"It proves," he roared, with a sudden blast of
fury, "that you are the damnedest imposter in
London a vile, crawling journalist, who has no
more science than he has decency in his composi-
HE had sprung to his feet with a mad rage in his
eyes. Even at that moment of tension I
found time for amazement at the discovery that
he was quite a short man, his head not higher than
my shoulder a stunted Hercules whose tremen-
dous vitality had all run to depth, breadth, and
"Gibberish!" he cried, leaning forward, with
his fingers on the table and his face projecting.
"That's what I have been talking to you, sir
scientific gibberish! Did you think you could
He Is Perfectly Impossible 29
match cunning with me you with your walnut
of a brain? You think you are omnipotent, you
infernal scribblers, don't you? That your praise
can make a man and your blame can break him?
We must all bow to you, and try to get a favorable
word, must we? This man shall have a leg up,
and this man shall have a dressing down! Creep-
ing vermin, I know you ! You've got out of your
station. Time was when your ears were clipped.
You've lost your stense of proportion. Swollen
gas-bags! I'll keep you in your proper place.
Yes, sir, you haven't got over G. E. C. There's
one man who is still your master. He warned
you off, but if you will come, by the Lord you do
it at your own risk. Forfeit, my good Mr. Malone,
I claim forfeit ! You have played a rather danger-
ous game, and it strikes me that you have lost it."
"Look here, sir," said I, backing to the door and
opening it; "you can be as abusive as you like.
But there is a limit. You shall not assault me."
"Shall I not?" He was slowly advancing in a
peculiarly menacing way, but he stopped now and
put his big hands into the side-pockets of a rather
boyish short jacket which he wore. "I have
thrown several of you out of the house. You will
be the fourth or fifth. Three pound fifteen each
that is how it averaged. Expensive, but very
necessary. Now, sir, why should you not follow
your brethren? I rather think you must." He
resumed his unpleasant and stealthy advance,
pointing his toes as he walked, like a dancing
30 The Lost World
I could have bolted for the hall door, but it would
have been too ignominious. Besides, a little glow
of righteous anger was springing up within me. I
had been hopelessly in the wrong before, but this
man's menaces were putting me in the right.
"Til trouble you to keep your hands off, sir.
I'll not stand it."
"Dear me!" His black moustache lifted and a
white fang twinkled in a sneer. "You won't
stand it, eh?"
"Don't be such a fool, Professor!" I cried.
"What can you hope for? I'm fifteen stone, as
hard as nails, and play center three-quarter every
Saturday for the London Irish. I'm not the
It was at that moment that he rushed me. It
was lucky that I had opened the door, or we should
have gone through it. We did a Catharine-wheel
together down the passage. Somehow we gathered
up a chair upon our way, and bounded on with it
towards the street. My mouth was full of his
beard, our arms were locked, our bodies inter-
twined, and that infernal chair radiated its legs
all round us. The watchful Austin had thrown
open the hall door. We went with a back somer-
sault down the front steps. I have seen the two
Macs attempt something of the kind at the halls,
but it appears to take some practise to do it
without hurting oneself. The chair went to
matchwood at the bottom, and we rolled apart
into the gutter. He sprang to his feet, waving
his fists and wheezing like an asthmatic.
He Is Perfectly Impossible 31
"Had enough?" he panted.
"You infernal bully!" I cried, as I gathered
HP HEN and there we should have tried the thing
out, for he was effervescing with fight, but
fortunately I was rescued from an odious situation.
A policeman was beside us, his notebook in his
"What's all this? You ought to be ashamed"
said the policeman. It was the most rational
remark which I had heard in EnmorePark. "Well,"
he insisted, turning to me, "what is it, then?"
"This man attacked me," said I.
"Did you attack him?" asked the policeman.
The Professor breathed hard and said nothing.
"It's not the first time, either," said the police-
man, severely, shaking his head. "You were in
trouble last month for the same thing. You've
blackened this' young man's eye. Do you give
him in charge, sir?"
"No," said I, "I do not."
"What's that?" said the policeman.
"I was to blame myself. I intruded upon him.
He gave me fair warning."
The policeman snapped up his notebook.
"Don't let us have any more such goings-on,"
said he. "Now, then! Move on, there, move
on!" This to a butcher's boy, a maid, and one
or two loafers who had collected. He clumped
heavily down the street, driving this little flock
32 The Lost World
before him. The Professor looked at me, and
there was something humorous at the back of his
"Come in!" said he. "I've not done with you
The speech had a sinister sound, but I followed
him none the less into the house. The man-
servant, Austin, like a wooden image, closed the
door behind us.
"It's Just the very Biggest Thing in the World 9 '
HARDLY was it shut when Mrs. Challenger
darted out from the dining-room. The
small woman was in a furious temper.
She barred her husband's way like an enraged
chicken in front of a bulldog. It was evident
that she had seen my exit, but had not observed
"You brute, George!" she screamed "YouVe
hurt that nice young man."
He jerked backwards with his thumb.
"Here he is, safe and sound behind me."
She was confused, but not unduly so.
"I am so sorry, I didn't see you."
"I assure you, madam, that it is all right."
"He has marked your poor face! Oh, George,
what a brute you are ! Nothing but scandals from
one end of the week to the other. Everyone hating
and making fun of you. YouVe finished my
patience. This ends it."
"Dirty linen," he rumbled.
"It's not a secret," she cried. "Do you suppose
that the whole street the whole of London, for
that matter Get away, Austin, we don't
want you here. Do you suppose they don't all
34 The Lost World
talk about you? Where is your dignity? You, a
man who should have been Regius Professor at a
great University with a thousand students all
revering you. Where is your dignity, George?"
"How about yours, my dear?"
"You try me too much. A ruffian a common
brawling ruffian that's what you have become."
"Be good, Jessie."
"A roaring, raging bully!' 5
"That's done it! Stool of penance!" said he.
To my amazement he stooped, picked her up,
and placed her sitting upon a high pedestal of
black marble in the angle of the hall. It was at
least seven feet high, and so thin that she could
hardly balance upon it. A more absurd object
than she presented cocked up there with her face
convulsed with anger, her feet dangling, and her
body rigid for fear of an upset, I could not imagine.
"Let me down!" she wailed.
"Say ' please."
"You brute, George! Let me down this
"Come into the study, Mr. Malone."
"Really, sir !" said I, looking at the lady.
"Here's Mr. Malone pleading for you, Jessie.
Say 'please/ and down you come."
" Oh, you brute ! Please ! please ! "
He took her down as if she had been a canary.
"You must behave yourself, dear. Mr. Malone
is a Pressman. He will have it all in his rag to-
morrow, and sell an extra dozen among our neigh-
bors. 'Strange story of high life' you felt
The Biggest Thing in the World 35
fairly high on that pedestal, did you not ? Then a
sub-title, ( Glimpse of a singular menage/ He's a
foul feeder, is Mr. Malone, a carrion eater, like
all of his kind porcus ex grege diaboli a swine
from the devil's herd. That's it, Malone
"You are really intolerable!" said I, hotly.
He bellowed with laughter.
"We shall have a coalition presently," he
boomed, looking from his wife to me and puffing
out his enormous chest. Then, suddenly alter-
ing his tone, "Excuse this frivolous family badinage,
Mr. Malone. I called you back for some more
serious purpose than to mix you up with our little
domestic pleasantries. Run away, little woman,
and don't fret." He placed a huge hand upon
each of her shoulders. "All that you say is
perfectly true. I should be a better man if I
did what you advise, but I shouldn't be quite
George Edward Challenger. There are plenty of
better men, my dear, but only one G. E. C. So
make the best of him." He suddenly gave her
a resounding kiss, which embarrassed me even
more than his violence had done. "Now, Mr.
Malone," he continued, with a great accession of
dignity, "this way, if you please."
re-entered the room which we had left so
tumultuously ten minutes before. The Pro-
fessor closed the door carefully behind us, motioned
me into an arm-chair, and pushed a cigar-box
under my nose.
36 The Lost World
" Real San Juan Colorado," he said. " Excitable
people like you are the better for narcotics.
Heavens! don't bite it! Cut and cut with
reverence! Now lean back, and listen attentively
to whatever I may care to say to you. If any
remark should occur to you, you can reserve it
for some more opportune time.
" First of all, as to your return to my house after
your most justifiable expulsion" -he protruded
his beard, and stared at me as one who challenges
and invites contradiction "after, as I say, your
well-merited expulsion. The reason lay in your
answer to that most officious policeman, in which
I seemed to discern some glimmering of good
feeling upon your part more, at any rate, than
I am accustomed to associate with your profession.
In admitting that the fault of the incident lay
with you, you gave some evidence of a certain
mental detachment and breadth of view which
attracted my favorable notice. The sub-species
of the human race to which you unfortunately
belong has always been below my mental horizon.
Your words brought you suddenly above it. You
swam up into my serious notice. For this reason
I asked you to return with me, as I was minded
to make your further acquaintance. You will
kindly deposit your ash in the small Japanese tray
on the bamboo table which stands at your left
All this he boomed forth like a professor address-
ing his class. He had swung round his revolving
chair so as to face me, and he sat all puffed out
The Biggest Thing in the World 37
like an enormous bull-frog, his head laid back
and his eyes half-covered by supercilious lids.
Now he suddenly turned himself sideways, and
all I could see of him was tangled hair with a red,
protruding ear. He was scratching about among
the litter of papers upon his desk. He faced me
presently with what looked like a very tattered
sketch-book in his hand.
"I am going to talk to you about South America,"
said he. "No comments if you please. First of
all, I wish you to understand that nothing I tell
you now is to be repeated in any public way unless
you have my express permission. That permis-
sion will, in all human probability, never be given.
Is that clear?"
"It is very hard," said I. "Surely a judicious
He replaced the notebook upon the table.
"That ends it," said he. "I wish you a very
"No, no!" I cried. "I submit to any condi-
tions. So far as I can see, I have no choice."
"None in the world, "said he.
"Well, then, I promise."
"Word of honor?"
"Word of honor."
He looked at me with doubt in his insolent eyes.
"After all, what do I know about your honor?"
"Upon my word, sir," I cried, angrily, "you
take very great liberties! I have never been so
insulted in my life."
38 The Lost World
He seemed more interested than annoyed at
" Round-headed," he muttered. "Brachyce-
phalic, gray-eyed, black-haired, with suggestion
of the negroid. Celtic, I presume?"
"I am an Irishman, sir."
"That, of course, explains it. Let me see; you
have given me your promise that my confidence
will be respected? That confidence, I may say,
will be far from complete. But I am prepared to
give you a few indications which will be of interest.
In the first place, you are probably aware that
two years ago I made a journey to South America
one which will be classical in the scientific his-
tory of the world? The object of my journey
was to verify some conclusions of Wallace and of
Bates, which could only be done by observing
their reported facts under the same conditions in
which they had themselves noted them. If my
expedition had no other results it would still have
been noteworthy, but a curious incident occurred
to me while there which opened up an entirely
fresh line of inquiry.
"You are aware or probably, in this half-
educated age, you are not aware that the
country round some parts of the Amazon is still
only partially explored, and that a great number
of tributaries, some of them entirely uncharted,
run into the main river. It was my business to
visit this little-known back-country and to examine
The Biggest Thing in the World 39
its fauna, which furnished me with the materials
for several chapters for that great and monu-
mental work upon zoology which will be my life's
justification. I was returning, my work accom-
plished, when I had occasion to spend a night at a
small Indian village at a point where a certain
tributary the name and position of which I
withhold opens into the main river. The natives
were Cucama Indians, an amiable but degraded
race, with mental powers hardly superior to the
average Londoner. I had effected some cures
among them upon my way up the river, and had
impressed them considerably with my personality,
so that I was not surprised to find myself eagerly
awaited upon my return. I gathered from their
signs that someone had urgent need of my medical
services, and I followed the chief to one of his
huts. When I entered I found that the sufferer
to whose aid I had been summoned had that instant
expired. He was, to my surprise, no Indian, but
a white man.; indeed, I may say a very white
man, for he was flaxen-haired and had some
characteristics of an albino. He was clad in rags,
was very emaciated, and bore every trace of pro-
longed hardship. So far as I could understand
the account of the natives, he was a complete
stranger to them, and had come upon their village
through the woods alone and in the last stage of
"The man's knapsack lay beside the couch, and
I examined the contents. His name was written
upon a tab within it Maple White, Lake Avenue,
40 The Lost Word
Detroit, Michigan. It is a name to which I am
prepared always to lift my hat. It is not too much
to say that it will rank level with my own when
the final credit of this business comes to be
"From the contents of the knapsack it was
evident that this man had been an artist and poet
in search of effects. There were scraps of verse.
I do not profess to be a judge of such things, but
they appeared to me to be singularly wanting in
merit. There were also some rather commonplace
pictures of river scenery, a paint-box, a box of
colored chalks, some brushes, that curved bone
which lies upon my inkstand, a volume of Baxter's
* Moths and Butterflies/ a cheap revolver, and a
few cartridges. Of personal equipment he either
had none or he had lost it in his journey. Such
were the total effects of this strange American
"I was turning away from him when I observed
that something projected from the front of his
ragged jacket. It was this sketch-book, which
was as dilapidated then as you see it now. Indeed,
I can assure you that a first folio of Shakespeare
could not be treated with greater reverence than
this relic has been since it came into my posses-
sion. I hand it to you now, and I ask you
to take it page by page and to examine the
He helped himself to a cigar and leaned back
with a fiercely critical pair of eyes, taking note
of the effect which this document would produce.
The Biggest Thing in the World 41
T HAD opened the volume with some expecta-
tion of a revelation, though of what nature I
could not imagine. The first page was disap-
pointing, however, as it contained nothing but
the picture of a very fat man in a pea-jacket, with
the legend, "Jimmy Colver on the Mail-boat,"
written beneath it. There followed several pages
which were filled with small sketches of Indians
and their ways. Then came a picture of a cheer-
ful and corpulent ecclesiastic in a shovel hat,
sitting opposite a very thin European, and the
inscription: " Lunch with Fra Cristofero at Ro-
sario." Studies of women and babies accounted
for several more pages, and then there was an
unbroken series of animal drawings with such
explanations as "Manatee upon Sandbank,"
"Turtles and Their Eggs," "Black Ajouti under
a Miriti Palm" the matter disclosing some
sort of pig-like animal; and finally came a double
page of studies of long-snouted and very unpleas-
ant saurians. I could make nothing of it, and
said so to the Professor.
"Surely these are only crocodiles?"
"Alligators! Alligators! There is hardly such
a thing as a true crocodile in South America.
The distinction between them -
"I meant that I could see nothing unusual
nothing to justify what you have said."
He smiled serenely.
"Try the next page," said he.
I was still unable to sympathize. It was a
full-page sketch of a landscape roughly tinted
42 The Lost World
in color the kind of painting which an open-air
artist takes as a guide to a future more elaborate
effort. There was a pale-green foreground of
feathery vegetation, which sloped upwards and
ended in a line of cliffs dark red in color, and
curiously ribbed like some basaltic formations
which I have seen. They extended in an unbroken
wall right across the background. At one point
was an isolated pyramidal rock, crowned by a
great tree, which appeared to be separated by a
cleft from the main crag. Behind it all, a blue
tropical sky. A thin green line of vegetation
fringed the summit of the ruddy cliff.
"Well?" he asked.
"It is no doubt a curious formation," said I,
"but I am not geologist enough to say that it is
"Wonderful!" he repeated. "It is unique.
It is incredible. No one on earth has ever dreamed
of such a possibility. Now the next."
I turned it over, and gave an exclamation of
surprise. There was a full-page picture of the
most extraordinary creature that I had ever seen.
It was the wild dream of an opium smoker, a vision
of delirium. The head was like that of a fowl,
the body that of a bloated lizard, the trailing tail
was furnished with upward-turned spikes, and
the curved back was edged with a high serrated
fringe, which looked like a dozen cocks' wattles
placed behind each other. In front of this
creature was an absurd mannikin, or dwarf, in
human form, who stood staring at it.
The Biggest Thing in the World 43
"VX/'ELL, what do you think of that?" cried
the Professor, rubbing his hands with an
air of triumph.
"It is monstrous grotesque."
"But what made him draw such an animal?"
''Trade gin, I should think."
"Oh, that's the best explanation you can give,
"Well, sir, what is yours?"
"The obvious one that the creature exists.
That is actually sketched from the life."
I should have laughed only that I had a vision
of our doing another Catharine-wheel down the
"No doubt," said I, "no doubt," as one humors
an imbecile. "I confess, however," I added,
''that this tiny human figure puzzles me. If it
were an Indian we could set it down as evidence
of some pigmy race in America, but it appears
to be a European in a sun-hat."
The Professor snorted like an angry buffalo.
"You really touch the limit," said he. "You
enlarge my view of the possible. Cerebral paresis !
Mental inertia! Wonderful!"
He was too absurd to make me angry. Indeed,
it was a waste of energy, for if you were going to
be angry with this man you would be angry all
the time. I contented myself with smiling wearily.
" It struck me that the man was small," said I.
"Look here!" he cried, leaning forward and
dabbing a great hairy sausage of a finger on to the
picture. "You see that plant behind the animal;
44 The Lost World
I suppose you thought it was a dandelion or a
Brussels sprout what? Well, it is a vegetable
ivory palm, and they run to about fifty or sixty
feet. Don't you see that the man is put in for
a purpose ? He couldn't really have stood in front
of that brute and lived to draw it. He sketched
himself in to give a scale of heights. He was,
we will say, over five feet high. The tree is ten
times bigger, which is what one would expect."
"Good heavens!" I cried. "Then you think
the beast was Why, Charing Cross station
would hardly make a kennel for such a brute!"
"Apart from exaggeration, he is certainly a
wellgrown specimen," said the Professor, com-
"But," I cried, "surely the whole experience of
the human race is not to be set aside on account
of a single sketch" I had turned over the
leaves and ascertained that there was nothing more
in the book- "a single sketch by a wandering
American artist who may have done it under hash-
ish, or in the delirium of fever, or simply in order
to gratify a freakish imagination. You can't, as
a man of science, defend such a position as that.'*
For answer the Professor took a book down
from a shelf.
"This is an excellent monograph by my gifted
friend, Ray Lankester!" said he. "There is an
illustration here which would interest you. Ah,
yes, here it is! The inscription beneath it runs:
* Probable appearance in life of the Jurassic Dino-
saur Stegosaurus. The hind leg alone is twice as
The Biggest Thing in the World 45
tall as a full-grown man/ Well, what do you
make of that?"
He handed me the open book. I started as I
looked at the picture. In this reconstructed ani-
mal of a dead world there was certainly a very
great resemblance to the sketch of the unknown
"That is certainly remarkable," said I.
"But you won't admit that it is final?"
"Surely it might be a coincidence, or this Ameri-
can may have seen a picture of the kind and
carried it in his memory. It would be likely to
recur to a man in a delirium."
"Very good," said the Professor, indulgently;
"we leave it at that. I will now ask you to look
at this bone." He handed over the one which he
had already described as part of the dead man's
possessions. It was about six inches long, and
thicker than my thumb, with some indications
of dried cartilage at one end of it.
"To what known creature does that bone be-
long?" asked the Professor.
I examined it with care and tried to recall
some half-forgotten knowledge.
"It might be a very thick human collar-bone/ 5
My companion waved his hand in contemptuous
"The human collar-bone is curved. This is
straight. There is a groove upon its surface show-
ing that a great tendon played across it, which
could not be the case with a clavicle."
46 The Lost World
Then I must confess that I don't know what
"You need not be ashamed to expose your
ignorance, for I don't suppose the whole South
Kensington staff could give a name to it." He
took a little bone the size of a bean out of a pill-
box. " So far as I am a judge this human bone is
the analogue of the one which you hold in your
hand. That will give you some idea of the size
of the creature. You will observe from the
cartilage that this is no fossil specimen, but recent.
What do you say to that?'
" Surely in an elephant -
He winced as if in pain.
"Don't! Don't talk of elephants in South
America. Even in these days of Board schools
"Well," I interrupted, "any large South Ameri-
can animal a tapir, for example."
"You may take it, young man, that I am versed
in the elements of my business. This is not a
conceivable bone either of a tapir or of any other
creature known to zoology. It belongs to a very
large, a very strong, and, by all analogy, a very
fierce animal which exists upon the face of the
earth, but has not yet come under the notice of
science. You are still unconvinced?"
"I am at least deeply interested."
"Then your case is not hopeless. I feel that
there is reason lurking in you somewhere, so we
will patiently grope round for it.
The Biggest Thing in the World 47
will now leave the dead American and pro-
ceed with my narrative. You can imagine
that I could hardly come away from the Amazon
without probing deeper into the matter. There
were indications as to the direction from which
the dead traveler had come. Indian legends
would alone have been my guide, for I found that
rumors of a strange land were common among all
the riverine tribes. You have heard, no doubt,
" Curupuri is the spirit of the woods, something
terrible, something malevolent, something to be
avoided. None can describe its shape or nature,
but it is a word of terror along the Amazon. Now
all tribes agree as to the direction in which Curu-
puri lives. It was the same direction from which
the American had come. Something terrible lay
that way. It was my business to find out what
"What did you do?" My flippancy was all
gone. This massive man compelled one's atten-
tion and respect.
"I overcame the extreme reluctance of the
natives a reluctance which extends even to talk
upon the subject and by judicious persuasion
and gifts, aided, I will admit, by some threats of
coercion, I got two of them to act as guides. After
many adventures which I need not describe, and
after traveling a distance which I will not mention,
in a direction which I withhold, we came at last
to a tract of country which has never been de-
48 The Lost World
scribed, nor, indeed, visited save by my unfortu-
nate predecessor. Would you kindly look at this ?"
He handed me a photograph half-plate size.
"The unsatisfactory appearance of it is due to
the fact," said he, "that on descending the river
the boat was upset and the case which contained the
undeveloped films was broken, with disastrous
results. Nearly all of them were totally ruined
an irreparable loss. This is one of the few
which partially escaped. This explanation of
deficiences or abnormalities you will kindly accept.
There was talk of faking. I am not in a mood to
argue such a point."
The photograph was certainly very off-colored.
An unkind critic might easily have misinterpreted
that dim surface. It was a dull gray landscape,
and as I gradually deciphered the details of it I
realized that it represented a long and enormously
high line of cliffs exactly like an immense cataract
seen in the distance, with a sloping, tree-clad plain
in the foreground.
"I believe it is the same place as the painted
picture," said I.
"It is the same place," the Professor answered.
"I found traces of the fellow's camp. Now look
It was a nearer view of the same scene, though
the photograph was extremely defective. I could
distinctly see the isolated, tree-crowned pinnacle
of rock which was detached from the crag.
"I have no doubt of it at all," said I.
"Well, that is something gained," said he. "We
The Biggest Thing in the World 49
progress, do we not? Now, will you please look
at the top of that rocky pinnacle? Do you
observe something there?"
"An enormous tree."
"But on the tree?"
"A large bird," said I.
He handed me a lens.
"Yes," I said, peering through it, "a large bird
stands on the tree. It appears to have a consid-
erable beak. I should say it was a pelican."
"I cannot congratulate you upon your eyesight,"
said the Professor. "It is not a pelican, nor,
indeed, is it a bird. It may interest you to know
that I succeeded in shooting that particular speci-
men. It was the only absolute proof of my
experiences which I was able to bring away with
"You have it, then?" Here at last was tangi-
"I had it. It was unfortunately lost with so
much else in the same boat accident which ruined
my photographs. I clutched at it as it disap-
peared in the swirl of the rapids, and part of its
wing was left in my hand. I was insensible when
washed ashore, but the miserable remnant of my
superb specimen was still intact; I now lay it
From a drawer he produced what seemed to me
to be the upper portion of the wing of a large bat.
It was at least two feet in length, a curved bone,
with a membranous veil beneath it.
"A monstrous bat!" I suggested.
50 The Lost World
"Nothing of the sort," said the Professor,
severely. "Living, as I do, in an educated and
scientific atmosphere, I could not have conceived
that the first principles of zoology were so little
known. Is it possible that you do not know the
elementary fact in comparative anatomy, that
the wing of a bird is really the forearm, while the
wing of a bat consists of three elongated fingers
with membranes between? Now, in this case, the
bone is certainly not the forearm, and you can see
for yourself that this is a single membrane hanging
upon a single bone, and therefore that it cannot
belong to a bat. But if it is neither bird nor bat,
what is it?"
My small stock of knowledge was exhausted.
"I really do not know," said I.
He opened the standard work to which he had
already referred me.
"Here," said he, pointing to the picture of an
extraordinary flying monster, "is an excellent
reproduction of the dimorphodon, or pterodactyl,
a flying reptile of the Jurassic period. On the next
page is a diagram of the mechanism of its wing.
Kindly compare it with the specimen in your
A wave of amazement passed over me as I
looked. I was convinced. There could be no
getting away from it. The cumulative proof was
overwhelming. The sketch, the photographs, the
narrative, and now the actual specimen the evi-
dence was complete. I said so I said so warmly,
for I felt that the Professor was an ill-used man.
The Biggest Thing in the World 51
He leaned back in his chair with drooping eyelids
and a tolerant smile, basking in this sudden gleam
"It's just the very biggest thing that I ever
heard of!" said I, though it was my journalistic
rather than my scientific enthusiasm that was
roused. "It is colossal. You are a Columbus of
science who has discovered a lost world. I'm
awfully sorry if I seemed to doubt you. It was all
so unthinkable. But I understand evidence when I
see it, and this should be good enough for anyone."
The Professor purred with satisfaction.
"And then, sir, what did you do next?"
"TT was the wet season, Mr. Malone, and my
stores were exhausted. I explored some por-
tion of this huge cliff, but I was unable to find any
way to scale it. The pyramidal rock upon which
I saw and shot the pterodactyl was more accessible.
Being something of a cragsman, I did manage to
get half way to the top of that. From that
height I had a better idea of the plateau upon
the top of the crags. It appeared to be very
large; neither to east nor to west could I see any
end to the vista of green-capped cliffs. Below,
it is a swampy, jungly region, full of snakes, in-
sects, and fever. It is a natural protection to
this singular country."
"Did you see any other trace of life?"
"No, sir, I did not; but during the week that
we lay encamped at the base of the cliff we heard
some very strange noises from above."
52 The Lost World
"But the creature that the American drew?
How do you account for that?"
"We can only suppose that he must have made
his way to the summit and seen it there. We
know, therefore, that there is a way up. We
know equally that it must be a very difficult one,
otherwise the creatures would have come down
and overrun the surrounding country. Surely
that is clear?"
"But how did they come to be there?"
"I do not think that the problem is a very
obscure one," said the Professor; "there can only
be one explanation. South America is, as you
may have heard, a granite continent. At this
single point in the interior there has been, in some
far distant age, a great, sudden volcanic upheaval.
These clirTs, I may remark, are basaltic, and
therefore plutonic. An area, as large perhaps as
Sussex, has been lifted up en bloc with all its living
contents, and cut off by perpendicular precipices
of a hardness which defies erosion from all the rest
of the continent. What is the result ? Why, the
ordinary laws of Nature are suspended. The vari-
ous checks which influence the struggle for exist-
ence in the world at large are all neutralized or
altered. Creatures survive which would other-
wise disappear. You will observe that both the
pterodactyl and the stegosaurus are Jurassic, and
therefore of a great age in the order of life. They
have been artificially conserved by those strange
The Biggest Thing in the World 53
T2UT surely your evidence is conclusive. You
have only to lay it before the proper author-
" So, in my simplicity, I had imagined/' said the
Professor, bitterly. "I can only tell you that it
was not so, that I was met at every turn by in-
credulity, born partly of stupidity and partly of
jealousy. It is not my nature, sir, to cringe to
any man, or to seek to prove a fact if my word has
been doubted. After the first I have not conde-
scended to show such corroborative proofs as I
possess. The subject became hateful to me I
would not speak of it. When men like yourself,
who represent the foolish curiosity of the public,
came to disturb my privacy I was unable to meet
them with dignified reserve. By nature I am, I
admit, somewhat fiery, and under provocation
I am inclined to be violent. I fear you may have
I nursed my eye and was silent.
"My wife has frequently remonstrated with me
upon the subject, and yet I fancy that any man of
honor would feel the same. To-night, however,
I propose to give an extreme example of the control
of the will over the emotions. I invite you to be
present at the exhibition." He handed me a card
from his desk. "You will perceive that Mr. Per-
cival Waldron, a naturalist of some popular repute,
is announced to lecture at eight-thirty at the
Zoological Institute's Hall upon 'The Record of
the Ages.' I have been specially invited to be
present upon the platform, and to move a vote of
54 The Lost World
thanks to the lecturer. While doing so, I shall
make it my business, with infinite tact and deli-
cacy, to throw out a few remarks which may
arouse the interest of the audience and cause some
of them to desire to go more deeply into the matter.
Nothing contentious, you understand, but only
an indication that there are greater deeps beyond.
I shall hold myself strongly in leash, and see
whether by this self-restraint I attain a more favor-
"And I may come?" I asked eagerly.
"Why, surely," he answered, cordially. He had
an enormously massive genial manner, which was
almost as overpowering as his violence. His
smile of benevolence was a wonderful thing, when
his cheeks would suddenly bunch into two red
apples, between his half-closed eyes and his great
black beard. "By all means, come. It will be a
comfort to me to know that I have one ally in the
hall, however inefficient and ignorant of the sub-
ject he may be. I fancy there will be a large
audience, for Waldron, though an absolute charla-
tan, has a considerable popular following. Now,
Mr. Malone, I have given you rather more of my
time than I had intended. The individual must
not monopolize what is meant for the world. I
shall be pleased to see you at the lecture to-night.
In the meantime, you will understand that no
public use is to be made of any of the material
that I have given you."
"But Mr. McArdle my news editor, you
know will want to know what I have done."
The Biggest Thing in the World 55
"Tell him what you like. You can say, among
other things, that if he sends anyone else to intrude
upon me I shall call upon him with a riding-whip.
But I leave it to you that nothing of all this
appears in print. Very good. Then the Zoologi-
cal Institute's Hall at eight-thirty to-night." I
had a last impression of red cheeks, blue rippling
beard, and intolerant eyes, as he waved me out
of the room.
WHAT with the physical shocks incidental
to my first interview with Professor
Challenger and the mental ones which
accompanied the second, I was a somewhat de-
moralized journalist by the time I found myself
in Enmore Park once more. In my aching head
the one thought was throbbing that there really
was truth in this man's story, that it was of tre-
mendous consequence, and that it would work
up into inconceivable copy for the Gazette when I
could obtain permission to use it. A taxicab was
waiting at the end of the road, so I sprang into it
and drove down to the office. McArdle was at
his post as usual.
"Well," he cried, expectantly, "what may it
run to ? I'm thinking, young man, you have been
in the wars. Don't tell me that he assaulted you."
"We had a little difference at first."
"What a man it is! What did you do?"
"Well, he became more reasonable and we had
a chat. But I got nothing out of him nothing
"I'm not so sure about that. You got a black
eye out of him, and that's for publication. We
can't have this reign of terror, Mr. Malone. We
must bring the man to his bearings. I'll have a
leaderette on him to-morrow that will raise a blister.
Just give me the material and I will engage to
brand the fellow for ever. Professor Munchausen
how's that for an inset headline? Sir John
Mandeville redivivus Cagliostro all the im-
posters and bullies in history. I'll show him up
for the fraud he is."
"I wouldn't do that, sir."
" Because he is not a fraud at all."
"What!" roared McArdle. "You don't mean
to say you really believe this stuff of his about
mammoths and mastodons and great sea sair-
"Well, I don't know about that. I don't think
he makes any claims of that kind. But I do
believe he has got something new."
"Then for Heaven's sake, man, write it up!"
"I'm longing to, but all I know he gave me in
confidence and on condition that I didn't." I
condensed into a few sentences the Professor's
narrative. "That's how it stands."
McArdle looked deeply incredulous.
"Well, Mr. Malone," he said at last, "about
this scientific meeting to-night; there can be no
privacy about that, anyhow. I don't suppose
any paper will want to report it, for Waldron has
been reported already a dozen times, and no one
is aware that Challenger will speak. We may get
a scoop, if we are lucky. You'll be there in any
58 The Lost World
case, so you'll just give us a pretty full report.
I'll keep space up to midnight."
TV/TY day was a busy one, and I had an early
dinner at the Savage Club with Tarp Henry,
to whom I gave some account of my adventures.
He listened with a sceptical smile on his gaunt
face, and roared with laughter on hearing that the
Professor had convinced me.
"My dear chap, things don't happen like that
in real life. People don't stumble upon enormous
discoveries and then lose their evidence. Leave
that to the novelists. The fellow is as full of
tricks as the monkey-house at the Zoo. It's all
"But the American poet?"
"He never existed."
"I saw his sketch-book."
"You think he drew that animal?"
"Of course he did. Who else?"
"Well, then, the photographs?"
"There was nothing in the photographs. By
your own admission you only saw a bird."
"That's what he says. He put the pterodactyl
into your head."
"Well, then, the bones?"
"First one out of an Irish stew. Second one
vamped up for the occasion. If you are clever
and know your business you can fake a bone as
easily as you can a photograph."
I began to feel uneasy. Perhaps, after all, I
had been premature in my acquiescence. Then
I had a sudden happy thought.
"Will you come to the meeting?" I asked.
Tarp Henry looked thoughtful.
"He is not a popular person, the genial Chal-
lenger," said he. "A lot of people have accounts
to settle with him. I should say he is about the
best-hated man in London. If the medical stu-
dents turn out there will be no end of a rag. I don't
want to get into a bear-garden."
"You might at least do him the justice to hear
him state his own case."
"Well, perhaps it's only fair. All right. I'm
your man for the evening."
we arrived at the hall we found a much
greater concourse than I had expected. A
line of electric broughams discharged their little
cargoes of white-bearded professors, while the
dark stream of humbler pedestrians, who crowded
through the arched doorway, showed that the
audience would be popular as well as scientific.
Indeed, it became evident to us as soon as we had
taken our seats that a youthful and even boyish
spirit was abroad in the gallery and the back por-
tions of the hall. Looking behind me, I could see
rows of faces of the familiar medical student type.
Apparently the great hospitals had each sent
down their contingent. The behavior of the audi-
ence at present was good-humored, but mischie-
vous. Scraps of popular songs were chorused with
60 The Lost World
an enthusiasm which was a strange prelude to
scientific lecture, and there was already a tendency
to personal chaff which promised a jovial evening
to others, however embarrassing it might be to
the recipients of these dubious honors.
Thus, when old Doctor Meldrum, with his well-
known curly-brimmed opera-hat, appeared upon
the platform, there was such a universal query of
"Where did you get that tile?" that he hurriedly
removed it, and concealed it furtively under his
chair. When gouty Professor Wadley limped
down to his seat there were general affectionate
inquiries from all parts of the hall as to the exact
state of his poor toe, which caused him obvious
embarrassment. The greatest demonstration of
all, however, was at the entrance of my new ac-
quaintance, Professor Challenger, when he passed
down to take his place at the extreme end of the
front row of the platform. Such a yell of welcome
broke forth when his black beard first protruded
round the corner that I began to suspect Tarp
Henry was right in his surmise, and that this
assemblage was there not merely for the sake of
the lecture, but because it had got rumored abroad
that the famous Professor would take part in the
There was some sympathetic laughter on his
entrance among the front benches of well-dressed
spectators, as though the demonstration of the
students in this instance was not unwelcome to
them. That greeting was, indeed, a frightful out-
burst of sound, the uproar of the carnivora cage
when the step of the bucket-bearing keeper is
heard in the distance. There was an offensive
tone in it, perhaps, and yet in the main it struck
me as mere riotous outcry, the noisy reception of
one who amused and interested them, rather than
of one they disliked or despised. Challenger smiled
with weary and tolerant contempt, as a kindly
man would meet the yapping of a litter of puppies.
He sat slowly down, blew out his chest, passed his
hand caressingly down his beard, and looked with
drooping eyelids and supercilious eyes at the
crowded hall before him. The uproar of his
advent had not yet died away when Professor
Ronald Murray, the chairman, and Mr. Waldron,
the lecturer, threaded their way to the front, and
the proceedings began.
Professor Murray will, I am sure, excuse me if
I say that he has the common fault of most Eng-
lishmen of being inaudible. Why on earth people
who have something to say which is worth hearing
should not take the slight trouble to learn how to
make it heard is one of the strange mysteries of
modern life. Their methods are as reasonable
as to try to pour some precious stuff from the
spring to the reservoir through a non-conducting
pipe, which could by the least effort be opened.
Professor Murray made several profound remarks
to his white tie and to the water-carafe upon the
table, with a humorous, twinkling aside to the
silver candlestick upon his right. Then he sat
down, and Mr. Waldron, the famous popular
lecturer, rose amid a general murmur of applause.
62 The Lost World
He was a stern, gaunt man, with a harsh voio
and an aggressive manner, but he had the merit
of knowing how to assimilate the ideas of other
men, and to pass them on in a way which was
intelligible and even interesting to the lay public,
with a happy knack of being funny about the
most unlikely objects, so that the precession of the
Equinox or the formation of a vertebrate became
a highly humorous process as treated by him.
It was a bird's-eye view of creation, as inter-
preted by science, which, in language always clear
and sometimes picturesque, he unfolded before us.
He told us of the globe, a huge mass of flaming
gas, flaring through the heavens. Then he pic-
tured the solidification, the cooling, the wrinkling
which formed the mountains, the steam which
turned to water, the slow preparation of the stage
upon which was to be played the inexplicable
drama of life. On the origin of life itself he was
discreetly vague. That the germs of it could
hardly have survived the original roasting was, he
declared, fairly certain. Therefore it had come
later. Had it built itself out of the cooling, in-
organic elements of the globe ? Very likely. Had
the germs of it arrived from outside upon a meteor ?
It was hardly conceivable. On the whole, the
wisest man was the least dogmatic upon the point.
We could not or at least we had not succeeded
up to date in making organic life in our laboratories
out of inorganic materials. The gulf between the
dead and the living was something which our
chemistry could not as yet bridge. But there
was a higher and subtler chemistry of Nature,
which, working with great forces over long epochs,
might well produce results which were impossible
for us. There the matter must be left.
This brought the lecturer to the great ladder of
animal life, beginning low down in molluscs and
feeble sea creatures, then up rung by rung through
reptiles and fishes, till at last we came to a kanga-
roo-rat, a creature which brought forth its young
alive, the direct ancestor of all mammals, and
presumably, therefore, of everyone in the audience.
("No, no/' from a sceptical student in the back
row.) If the young gentleman in the red tie who
cried "No, no," and who presumably claimed to
have been hatched out of an egg, would wait
upon him after the lecture, he would be glad to
see such a curiosity. (Laughter.) It was strange
to think that the climax of all the age-long process
of Nature had been the creation of that gentleman
in the red tie. But had the process stopped?
Was this gentleman to be taken as the final type
-the be-all and end-all of development? He
hoped that he would not hurt the feelings of the
gentleman in the red tie if he maintained that,
whatever virtues that gentleman might possess
in private life, still the vast processes of the uni-
verse were not fully justified if they were to end
entirely in his production. Evolution was not a
spent force, but one still working, and even greater
achievements were in store.
Having thus, amid a general titter, played very
prettily with his interrupter, the lecturer went
64 The Lost World
back to his picture of the past, the drying of the
seas, the emergence of the sand-bank, the sluggish,
viscous life which lay upon their margins, the
overcrowded lagoons, the tendency of the sea
creatures to take refuge upon the mud-flats, the
abundance of food awaiting them, their consequent
enormous growth. "Hence, ladies and gentle-
men," he added, "that frightful brood of saurians
which still affright our eyes when seen in the
Wealden or in the Solenhofen slates, but which
were fortunately extinct long before the first
appearance of mankind upon this planet."
"Question!" boomed a voice from the platform.
TV/TR. WALDRON was a strict disciplinarian
with a gift of acid humor, as exemplified upon
the gentleman with the red tie, which made it
perilous to interrupt him. But this interjection
appeared to him so absurd that he was at a loss
how to deal with it. So looks the Shakespearean
who is confronted by a rancid Baconian, or the
astronomer who is assailed by a flat-earth fanatic.
He paused for a moment, and then, raising his
voice, repeated slowly the words: "Which were
extinct before the coming of man."
"Question!" boomed the voice once more.
Waldron looked with amazement along the line
of professors upon the platform until his eyes fell
upon the figure of Challenger, who leaned back in
his chair with closed eyes and an amused expres-
sion, as if he were smiling in his sleep.
"I see!" said Waldron, with a shrug. "It is
my friend Professor Challenger/' and amid laugh-
ter he renewed his lecture as if this was a final
explanation and no more need be said.
But the incident was far from being closed.
Whatever path the lecturer took amid the wilds
of the past seemed invariably to lead him to some
assertion as to extinct or prehistoric life which
instantly brought the same bulls' bellow from the
Professor. The audience began to anticipate it
and to roar with delight when it came. The
packed benches of students joined in, and every
time Challenger's beard opened, before any sound
could come forth, there was a yell of "Question!"
from a hundred voices, and an answering counter
cry of "Order!" and "Shame!" from as many
more. Waldron, though a hardened lecturer and
a strong man, became rattled. He hesitated,
stammered, repeated himself, got snarled in a
long sentence, and finally turned furiously upon
the cause of his troubles.
"This is really intolerable!" he cried, glaring
across the platform. "I must ask you, Professor
Challenger, to cease these ignorant and unman-
There was a hush over the hall, the students
rigid with delight at seeing the high gods on
Olympus quarrelling among themselves. Chal-
lenger levered his bulky figure slowly out of his
"I must in turn ask you, Mr. Waldron," he said,
"to cease to make assertions which are not in
strict accordance with scientific fact."
66 The Lost World
The words unloosed a tempest. "Shame!
Shame!" "Give him a hearing!" "Put him
out!" "Shove him off the platform!" "Fair
play!" emerged from a general roar of amusement
or execration. The chairman was on his feet
flapping both his hands and bleating excitedly.
"Professor Challenger personal - - views -
later," were the solid peaks above his clouds of
inaudible mutter. The interrupter bowed, smiled,
stroked his beard, and relapsed into his chair.
Waldron, very flushed and warlike, continued his
observations. Now and then, as he made an
assertion, he shot a venomous glance at his op-
ponent, who seemed to be slumbering deeply,
with the same broad, happy smile upon his face.
AT last the lecture came to an end I am in-
clined to think that it was a premature one,
as the peroration was hurried and disconnected.
The thread of the argument had been rudely
broken, and the audience was restless and expect-
ant. Waldron sat down, and, after a chirrup from
the chairman, Professor Challenger rose and
advanced to the edge of the platform. In the
interests of my paper I took down his speech
"Ladies and Gentlemen," he began, amid a
sustained interruption from the back. "I beg
pardon Ladies, Gentlemen, and Children I
must apologize, I had inadvertently omitted a
considerable section of this audience" (tumult,
during which the Professor stood with one hand
raised and his enormous head nodding sympa-
thetically, as if he were bestowing a pontifical
blessing upon the crowd), "I have been selected
to move a vote of thanks to Mr. Waldron for the
very picturesque and imaginative address to
which we have just listened. There are points
in it with which I disagree, and it has been my
duty to indicate them as they arose, but, none
the less, Mr. Waldron has accomplished his object
well, that object being to give a simple and in-
teresting account of what he conceives to have
been the history of our planet. Popular lectures
are the easiest to listen to, but Mr. Waldron"
(here he beamed and blinked at the lecturer) "will
excuse me when I say that they are necessarily
both superficial and misleading, since they have
to be graded to the comprehension of an ignorant
audience." (Ironical cheering.) "Popular lec-
turers are in their nature parasitic." (Angry
gesture of protest from Mr. Waldron.) "They
exploit for fame or cash the work which has been
done by their indigent and unknown brethren.
One smallest new fact obtained in the laboratory,
one brick built into the temple of science, far
outweighs ' any second-hand exposition which
passes an idle hour, but can leave no useful result
behind it. I put forward this obvious reflection,
not out of any desire to disparage Mr. Waldron
in particular, but that you may not lose your
sense of proportion and mistake the acolyte for
the high priest." (At this point Mr. Waldron
whispered to the chairman, who half rose and said
68 The Lost World
something severely to his water-carafe.) "But
enough of this!" (Loud and prolonged cheers.)
"Let me pass to some subject of wider interest.
What is the particular point upon which I, as an
original investigator, have challenged our lecturer's
accuracy? It is upon the permanence of certain
types of animal life upon the earth. I do not speak
upon this subject as an amateur, nor, I may add,
as a popular lecturer, but I speak as one whose
scientific conscience compels him to adhere closely
to facts, when I say that Mr. Waldron is very-
wrong in supposing that because he has never
himself seen a so-called prehistoric animal, there-
fore these creatures no longer exist. They are
indeed, as he has said, our ancestors, but they are,
if I may use the expression, our contemporary
ancestors, who can still be found with all their
hideous and formidable characteristics if one has
but the energy and hardihood to seek their haunts.
Creatures which were supposed to be Jurassic,
monsters who would hunt down and devour our
largest and fiercest mammals, still exist." (Cries
of "Bosh!" "Prove it!" "How do you know?"
"Question!") "How do I know, you ask me?
I know because I have visited their secret haunts.
I know because I have seen some of them."
(Applause, uproar, and a voice, "Liar!") "Am
I a liar?" (General hearty and noisy assent.)
"Did I hear someone say that I was a liar? Will
the person who called me a liar kindly stand up
that I may know him?" (A voice, "Here he is,
sir!" and an inoffensive little person in spectacles,
struggling violently, was held up among a group
of students.) "Did you venture to call me a
liar?" ("No, sir, no!" shouted the accused, and
disappeared like a Jack-in-the-box.) "If any per-
son in this hall dares to doubt my veracity, I shall
be glad to have a few words with him after the
lecture." ("Liar!") "Who said that?" (Again
the inoffensive one plunging desperately, was ele-
vated high into the air.) "If I come down among
you (General chorus of "Come, love,
come!" which interrupted the proceedings for
some moments, while the chairman, standing up
and waving both his arms, seemed to be conduct-
ing the music. The Professor, with his face
flushed, his nostrils dilated, and his beard bristling,
was now in a proper Berserk mood.) "Every
great discoverer has been met with the same
incredulity the sure brand of a generation of
fools. When great facts are laid before you, you
have not the intuition, the imagination which
would help you to understand them. You can
only throw mud at the men who have risked their
lives to open new fields to science. You persecute
the prophets! Galileo, Darwin, and I "
(Prolonged cheering and complete interruption.)
A LL this is from my hurried notes taken at the
time, which give little notion of the absolute
chaos to which the assembly had by this time been
reduced. So terrific was the uproar that several
ladies had already beaten a hurried retreat. Grave
and reverend seniors seemed to have caught the
70 The Lost World
prevailing spirit as badly as the students, and
saw white-bearded men rising and shaking their
fists at the obdurate Professor. The whole great
audience seethed and simmered like a boiling pot.
The Professor took a step forward and raised both
his hands. There was something so big and
arresting and virile in the man that the clatter
and shouting died gradually away before his
commanding gesture and his masterful eyes. He
seemed to have a definite message. They hushed
to hear it.
"I will not detain you/' he said. "It is not
worth it. Truth is truth, and the noise of a num-
ber of foolish young men and, I fear I must add,
of their equally foolish seniors cannot affect
the matter. I claim that I have opened a new
field of science. You dispute it." (Cheers.)
"Then I put you to the test. Will you accredit
one or more of your own number to go out as your
representatives and test my statement in your
Mr. Summerlee, the veteran Professor of Com-
parative Anatomy, rose among the audience, a
tall, thin, bitter man, with the withered aspect of
a theologian. He wished, he said, to ask Professor
Challenger whether the results to which he had
alluded in his remarks had been obtained during
a journey to the headwaters of the Amazon made
by him two years before.
Professor Challenger answered that they had.
Mr. Summerlee desired to know how it was that
Professor Challenger claimed to have made dis-
coveries in those regions which had been over-
looked by Wallace, Bates, and other previous
explorers of established scientific repute.
Professor Challenger answered that Mr. Sum-
merlee appeared to be confusing the Amazon with
the Thames ; that it was in reality a somewhat
larger river; that Mr. Summerlee might be inter-
ested to know that with the Orinoco, which com-
municated with it, some fifty thousand miles of
country were opened up, and that in so vast a
space it was not impossible for one person to find
what another had missed.
Mr. Summerlee declared, with an acid smile,
that he fully appreciated the difference between
the Thames and the Amazon, which lay in the
fact that any assertion about the former could be
tested, while about the latter it could not. He
would be obliged if Professor Challenger would
give the latitude and the longitude of the
country in which prehistoric animals were to be
Professor Challenger replied that he reserved
such information for good reasons of his own, but
would be prepared to give it with proper precau-
tions to a committee chosen from the audience.
Would Mr. Summerlee serve on such a committee
and test his story in person?
Mr. Summerlee: "Yes, I will." (Great cheer-
Professor Challenger: "Then I guarantee that
I will place in your hands such material as will
enable you to find your way. It is only right,
72 The Lost World
however, since Mr. Summerlee goes to check my
statement that I should have one or more with
him who may check his. I will not disguise from
you that there are difficulties and dangers. Mr.
Summerlee will need a younger colleague. May
I ask for volunteers?"
TT is thus that the great crisis of a man's life
springs out at him. Could I have imagined
when I entered that hall that I was about to
pledge myself to a wilder adventure than had ever
come to me in my dreams? But Gladys was
it not the very opportunity of which she spoke?
Gladys would have told me to go. I had sprung
to my feet. I was speaking, and yet I had pre-
pared no words. Tarp Henry, my companion,
was plucking at my skirts and I heard him whis-
pering, " Sit down, Malone ! Don't make a public
ass of yourself." At the same time I was aware
that a tall, thin man, with dark gingery hair, a
few seats in front of me, was also upon his feet.
He glared back at me with hard angry eyes, but
I refused to give way.
"I will go, Mr. Chairman," I kept repeating
over and over again.
"Name! Name!" cried the audience.
"My name is Edward Dunn Malone. I am the
reporter of the Daily Gazette. I claim to be an
absolutely unprejudiced witness."
"What is your name, sir?" the chairman asked
of my tall rival.
"I am Lord John Roxton. I have already been
up the Amazon, I know all the ground, and have
special qualifications for this investigation."
"Lord John Roxton's reputation as a sports-
man and a traveler is, of course, world-famous,"
said the chairman; "at the same time it would
certainly be as well to have a member of the Press
upon such an expedition."
"Then I move," said Professor Challenger,
"that both these gentlemen be elected, as repre-
sentatives of this meeting, to accompany Professor
Summerlee upon his journey to investigate and
to report upon the truth of my statements."
And so, amid shouting and cheering, our fate
was decided, and I found myself borne away in
the human current which swirled towards the
door, with my mind half stunned by the vast new
project which had risen so suddenly before it.
As I emerged from the hall I was conscious for a
moment of a rush of laughing students down the
pavement, and of an arm wielding a heavy um-
brella, which rose and fell in the midst of them.
Then, amid a mixture of groans and cheers, Pro-
fessor Challenger's electric brougham slid from
the curb, and I found myself walking under the
silvery lights of Regent Street, full of thoughts of
Gladys and of wonder as to my future.
Suddenly there was a touch at my elbow. I
turned, and found myself looking into the humor-
ous, masterful eyes of the tall, thin man who had
volunteered to be my companion on this strange
"Mr. Malone, I understand," said he. "We
74 The Lost World
are to be companions what? My rooms are
just over the road, in the Albany. Perhaps you
would have the kindness to spare me half an hour,
for there are one or two things that I badly want
to say to you."
I was the Flail of the Lord
LORD JOHN ROXTON and I turned down
Vigo Street together and through the
dingy portals of the famous aristocratic
rookery. At the end of a long drab passage my
new acquaintance pushed open a door and turned
on an electric switch. A number of lamps shining
through tinted shades bathed the whole great
room before us in a ruddy radiance. Standing
in the doorway and glancing round me, I had a
general impression of extraordinary comfort and
elegance combined with an atmosphere of mascu-
line virility. Everywhere there were mingled the
luxury of the wealthy man of taste and the careless
untidiness of the bachelor. Rich furs and strange
iridescent mats from some Oriental bazaar were
scattered upon the floor. Pictures and prints
which even my unpractised eyes could recognize
as being of great price and rarity hung thick upon
the walls. Sketches of boxers, of ballet-girls, and
of racehorses alternated with a sensuous Frag-
onard, a martial Girardet, and a dreamy Turner.
But amid these varied ornaments there were
scattered the trophies which brought back strongly
to my recollection the fact that Lord John Roxton
76 The Lost World
was one of the great all-round sportsmen and
athletes of his day. A dark-blue oar crossed with
a cherry-pink one above his mantel-piece spoke
of the old Oxonian and Leander man, while the
foils and boxing-gloves above and below them
were the tools of a man who had won supremacy
with each. Like a dado round the room was the
jutting line of splendid heavy game-heads, the
best of their sort from every quarter of the world,
with the rare white rhinoceros of the Lado Enclave
drooping its supercilious lip above them all.
TN the center of the rich red carpet was a black
and gold Louis Quinze table, a lovely antique,
now sacrilegiously desecrated with marks of glasses
and the scars of cigar-stumps. On it stood a
silver tray of smokables and a burnished spirit-
stand, from which and an adjacent siphon my
silent host proceeded to charge two high glasses.
Having indicated an arm-chair to me and placed
my refreshment near it, he handed me a long,
smooth Havana. Then, seating himself opposite
to me, he looked at me long and fixedly with his
strange, twinkling, reckless eyes eyes of a cold
light blue, the color of a glacier lake.
Through the thin haze of my cigar-smoke I
noted the details of a face which was already
familiar to me from many photographs the
strongly-curved nose, the hollow, worn cheeks, the
dark, ruddy hair, thin at the top, the crisp, virile
moustaches, the small, aggressive tuft upon his
projecting chin. Something there was of Napo-
I was the Flail of the Lord 77
Icon III., something of Don Quixote, and yet again
something which was the essence of the English
country gentleman, the keen, alert, open-air lover
of dogs and of horses. His skin was of a rich
flower-pot red from sun and wind. His eyebrows
were tufted and overhanging, which gave those
naturally cold eyes an almost ferocious aspect, an
impression which was increased by his strong and
furrowed brow. In figure he was spare, but very
strongly built indeed, he had often proved that
there were few men in England capable of such
sustained exertions. His height was a little over
six feet, but he seemed shorter on account of a
peculiar rounding of the shoulders. Such was the
famous Lord John Roxton as he sat opposite to
me, biting hard upon his cigar and watching me
steadily in a long and embarrassing silence.
"V/yELL," said he, at last, "we've gone and
done it, young fellah my lad." (This
curious phrase he pronounced as if it were all one
word "young-fellah-me-lad.") "Yes, we've
taken a jump, you an' me. I suppose, now, when
you went into that room there was no such notion
in your head what?"
"No thought of it."
"The same here. No thought of it. And here
we are, up to our necks in the tureen. Why, I've
only been back three weeks from Uganda, and
taken a place in Scotland, and signed the lease
and all. Pretty goin's on what? How does it
78 The Lost World
"Well, it is all in the main line of my business.
I am a journalist on the Gazette. 99
"Of course you said so when you took it on.
By the way, I've got a small job for you, if you'll
"Don't mind takin' a risk, do you?"
"What is the risk?"
"Well, it's Ballinger he's the risk. You've
heard of him?"
"Why, young fellah, where have you lived?
Sir John Ballinger is the best gentleman jock in
the north country. I could hold him on the flat
at my best, but over jumps he's my master. Well,
it's an open secret that when he's out of trainin'
he drinks hard strikin' an average, he calls it.
He got delirium on Toosday, and has been ragin'
like a devil ever since. His room is above this.
The doctors say that it is all up with the old dear
unless some food is got into him, but as he lies
in bed with a revolver on his coverlet, and swears
he will put six of the best through anyone that
comes near him, there's been a bit of a strike among
the serving-men. He's a hard nail, is Jack, and
a dead shot, too, but you can't leave a Grand
National winner to die like that what?"
"What do you mean to do, then?" I asked.
"Well, my idea was that you and I could rush
him. He may be dozin', and at the worst he can
only wing one of us, and the other should have
him. If we can get his bolster-cover round his
I was the Flail of the Lord 79
arms and then 'phone up a stomach-pump, we'll
give the old dear the supper of his life."
It was a rather desperate business to come sud-
denly into one's day's work. I don't think that
I am a particularly brave man. I have an Irish
imagination which makes the unknown and the
untried more terrible than they are. On the other
hand, I was brought up with a horror of cowardice
and with a terror of such a stigma. I dare say
that I could throw myself over a precipice, like
the Hun in the history books, if my courage to do
it were questioned, and yet it would surely be
pride and fear, rather than courage, which would
be my inspiration. Therefore, although every
nerve in my body shrank from the whisky-mad-
dened figure which I pictured in the room above,
I still answered, in as careless a voice as I could
command, that I was ready to go. Some further
remark of Lord Roxton's about the danger only
made me irritable.
"Talking won't make it any better," said L
T ROSE from my chair and he from his. Then
with a little confidential chuckle of laughter,
he patted me two or three times on the chest,
finally pushing me back into my chair.
"All right, sonny my lad you'll do," said he.
I looked up in surprise.
"I saw after Jack Ballinger myself this mornin*.
He blew a hole in the skirt of my kimono, bless
his shaky old hand, but we got a jacket on him,
80 The Lost World
and he's to be all right in a week. I say, young
fellah, I hope you don't mind what ? You see,
between you an' me close-tiled, I look on this
South American business as a mighty serious thing,
and if I have a pal with me I want a man I can bank
on. So I sized you down, and I'm bound to say
that you came well out of it. You see, it's all
up to you and me, for this old Summerlee man
will want dry-nursin' from the first. By the way,
are you by any chance the Malone who is expected
to get his Rugby cap for Ireland?"
"A reserve, perhaps."
"I thought I remembered your face. Why, I
was there when you got that try against Rich-
mond as fine a swervin' run as I saw the whole
season. I never miss a Rugby match if I can
help it, for it is the manliest game we have left.
Well, I didn't ask you in here just to talk sport.
We've got to fix our business. Here are the
sailin's, on the first page of the Times. There's
a Booth boat for Para next Wednesday week,
and if the Professor and you can work it, I think
we should take it what? Very good, I'll fix
it with him. What about your outfit?"
"My paper will see to that."
"Can you shoot?"
"About average Territorial standard."
"Good Lord! as bad as that? It's the last
thing you young fellahs think of learnin'. You're
all bees without stings, so far as lookin' after the
hive goes. You'lKlook silly, some o' these days,
when someone comes along an' sneaks the honey.
I was the Flail of the Lord 81
But you'll need to hold your gun straight in South
America, for, unless our friend the Professor is a
madman or a liar, we may see some queer things
before we get back. What gun have you?"
He crossed to an oaken cupboard, and as he
threw it open I caught a glimpse of glistening
rows of parallel barrels, like the pipes of an organ.
"I'll see what I can spare you out of my own
battery," said he.
One by one he took out a succession of beautiful
rifles, opening and shutting them with a snap and
a clang, and then patting them as he put them
back into the rack as tenderly as a mother would
fondle her children.
"This is a Eland's .577 axite express," said he.
"I got that big fellow with it." He glanced up at
the white rhinoceros. "Ten more yards, and he'd
would have added me to his collection.
'On that conical bullet his one chance hangs,
'Tis the weak one's advantage fair/
Hope you know your Gordon, for he's the poet
of the horse and the gun and the man that handles
both. Now, here's a useful tool .470, telescopic
sight, double ejector, point-blank up to three-
fifty. That's the rifle I used against the Peruvian
slave-drivers three years ago. I was the flail of
the Lord up in those parts, I may tell you, though
you won't find it in any Blue-book. There are
times, young fellah, when every one of us must
make a stand for human right and justice, or you
never feel clean again. That's why I made a little
82 The Lost World
war on my own. Declared it myself, waged it
myself, ended it myself. Each of those nicks
is for a slave murderer a good row of them
what? That big one is for Pedro Lopez, the king
of them all, that I killed in a backwater of the
Putomayo River. Now, here's something that
would do for you." He took out a beautiful
brown-and-silver rifle. "Well rubbered at the
stock, sharply sighted, five cartridges to the clip.
You can trust your life to that." He handed it
to me and closed the door of his oak cabinet.
"~DY the way," he continued, coming back to
his chair, "what do you know of this Pro-
"I never saw him till to-day."
"Well, neither did I. It's funny we should
both sail under sealed orders from a man we don't
know. He seemed an uppish old bird. His
brothers of science don't seem too fond of him,
either. How came you to take an interest in the
I told him shortly my experiences of the morn-
ing, and he listened intently. Then he drew out
a map of South America and laid it on the table.
"I believe every single word he said to you was
the truth," said he, earnestly, "and, mind you, I
have something to go on when I speak like that.
South America is a place I love, and I think, if you
take it right through from Darien to Fuego, it's the
grandest, richest, most wonderful bit of earth upon
this planet. People don't know it yet, and don't
" PEDRO LOPEZ, THE KING OF THEM ALL, THAT
I KILLED ON THE PUTOMAYO RIVER "
I was the Flail of the Lord 83
realize what it may become. I've been up an*
down it from end to end, and had two dry seasons
in those very parts, as I told you when I spoke of
the war I made on the slave-dealers. Well, when
I was up there I heard some yarns of the same kind
traditions of Indians and the like, but with
somethin' behind them, no doubt. The more you
knew of that country, young fellah, the more you
would understand that anythin' was possible
anythin . There are just some narrow water-
lanes along which folk travel, and outside that it
is all darkness. Now, down here in the Matto
Grande" -he swept his cigar over a part of the
map - "or up in this corner where three countries
meet, nothin' would surprise me. As that chap
said to-night, there are fifty-thousand miles of
water-way runnin' through a forest that is very
near the size of Europe. You and I could be as
far away from each other as Scotland is from
Constantinople, and yet each of us be in the same
great Brazilian forest. Man has just made a
track here and a scrape there in the maze. Why,
the river rises and falls the best part of forty feet,
and half the country is a morass that you can't pass
over. Why shouldn't somethin' new and wonder-
ful lie in such a country? And why shouldn't we
be the men to find it out? Besides," he added,
his queer, gaunt face shining with delight, "there's
a sportin' risk in every mile of it. I'm like an old
golf-ball I've had all the white paint knocked
off me long ago. Life can whack me about now,
and it can't leave a mark. But a sportin' risk,
84 The Lost World
young fellah, that's the salt of existence. Then
it's worth livin' again. We're all gettin' a deal
too soft and dull and comfy. Give me the great
waste lands and the wide spaces, with a gun in my
fist and somethin' to look for that's worth findin'.
I've tried war and steeplechasin' and aeroplanes,
but this huntin' of beasts that look like a lobster-
supper dream is a brand-new sensation." He
chuckled with glee at the prospect.
Perhaps I have dwelt too long upon this new
acquaintance, but he is to be my comrade for
many a day, and so I have tried to set him down
as I first saw him, with his quaint personality
and his queer little tricks of speech and of thought.
It was only the need of getting in the account of
my meeting which drew me at last from his com-
pany. I left him seated amid his pink radiance,
oiling the lock of his favorite rifle, while he still
chuckled to himself at the thought of the adven-
tures which awaited us. It was very clear to
me that if dangers lay before us I could not in all
England have found a cooler head or a braver
spirit with which to share them.
HP HAT night, wearied as I was after the wonder-
ful happenings of the day, I sat late with
McArdle, the news editor, explaining to him the
whole situation, which he thought important
enough to bring next morning before the notice
of Sir George Beaumont, the chief. It was agreed
that I should write home full accounts of my
adventures in the shape of successive letters to
I was the Flail of the Lord 85
McArdle, and that these should either be edited
for the Gazette as they arrived, or held back to
be published later, according to the wishes of
Professor Challenger, since we could not yet
know what conditions he might attach to those
directions which should guide us to the unknown
land. In response to a telephone inquiry, we
received nothing more definite than a fulmination
against the Press, ending up with the remark that
if we would notify our boat he would hand us any
directions which he might think it proper to give
us at the moment of starting. A second question
from us failed to elicit any answer at all, save a
plaintive bleat from his wife to the effect that her
husband was in a very violent temper already,
and that she hoped we would do nothing to make
it worse. A third attempt, later in the day,
provoked a terrific crash, and a subsequent
message from the Central Exchange that Professor
Challenger's receiver had been shattered. After
that we abandoned all attempt at communication.
A ND now, my patient readers, I can address
you directly no longer. From now onwards
(if, indeed, any continuation of this narrative
should ever reach you) it can only be through the
paper which I represent. In the hands of the
editor I leave this account of the events which
have led up to one of the most remarkable expe-
ditions of all time, so that if I never return to
England there shall be some record as to how the
affair came about. I am writing these last lines
86 The Lost World
in the saloon of the Booth liner Francisca, and
they will go back by the pilot to the keeping of Mr.
McArdle. Let me draw one last picture before I
close the notebook a picture which is the last
memory of the old country which I bear away with
me. It is a wet, foggy morning in the late spring;
a thin, cold rain is falling. Three shining mackin-
toshed figures are walking down the quay, making
for the gang-plank of the great liner from which
the blue-peter is flying. In front of them a porter
pushes a trolley piled high with trunks, wraps,
and gun-cases. Professor Summerlee, a long,
melancholy figure, walks with dragging steps and
drooping head, as one who is already profoundly
sorry for himself. Lord John Roxton steps briskly,
and his thin, eager face beams forth between his
hunting-cap and his muffler. As for myself, I
am glad to have got the bustling days of prepara-
tion and the pangs of leave-taking behind me,
and I have no doubt that I show it in my bearing.
Suddenly, just as we reach the vessel, there is a
shout behind us. It is Professor Challenger,
who had promised to see us off. He runs after
us, a puffing, red-faced, irascible figure.
"No, thank you," says he; "I should much
prefer not to go aboard. I have only a few words
to say to you, and they can very well be said
where we are. I beg you not to imagine that I
am in any way indebted to you for making this
journey. I would have you to understand that it
is a matter of perfect indifference to me, and
I refuse to entertain the most remote sense of
I was the Flail of the Lord 87
personal obligation. Truth is truth, and nothing
which you can report can affect it in any way,
though it may excite the emotions and allay the
curiosity of a number of very ineffectual people.
My directions for your instruction and guidance
are in this sealed envelope. You will open it when
you reach a town upon the Amazon which is called
Manaos, but not until the date and hour which is
marked upon the outside. Have I made myself
clear? I leave the strict observance of my condi-
tions entirely to your honor. No, Mr. Malone, I
will place no restriction upon your correspondence,
since the ventilation of the facts is the object of
your journey; but I demand that you shall give
no particulars as to your exact destination, and
that nothing be actually published until your
return. Good-bye, sir. You have done some-
thing to mitigate my feelings for the loathsome
profession to which you unhappily belong. Good-
bye, Lord John. Science is, as I understand, a
sealed book to you; but you may congratulate
yourself upon the hunting-field which awaits you.
You will, no doubt, have the opportunity of
describing in the Field how you brought down
the rocketing dimorphodon. And good-bye to
you also, Professor Summerlee. If you are still
capable of self-improvement, of which I am frankly
unconvinced, you will surely return to London
a wiser man."
So he turned upon his heel, and a minute later
from the deck I could see his short, squat figure
bobbing about in the distance as he made his way
88 The Lost World
back to his train/ Well, we are well down Channel
now. There's the last bell for letters, and it's
good-bye to the pilot. We'll be "down, hull-
down, on the old trail" from now on. God bless
all we leave behind us, and send us safely back.
" To-morrow we Disappear into the Unknown"
I WILL not bore those whom this narrative
may reach by an account of our luxurious
voyage upon the Booth liner, nor will I tell
of our week's stay at Para (save that I should wish
to acknowledge the great kindness of the Pereira
da Pinta Company in helping us to get together
our equipment). I will also allude very briefly
to our river journey, up a wide, slow-moving, clay-
tinted stream, in a steamer which was little smaller
than that which had carried us across the Atlantic.
Eventually we found ourselves through the nar-
rows of Obidos and reached the town of Manaos.
Here we were rescued from the limited attractions
of the local inn by Mr. Shortman, the representa-
tive of the British and Brazilian Trading Company.
In his hospital Fazenda we spent our time until
the day when we were empowered to open the
letter of instructions given to us by Professor
Challenger. Before I reach the surprising events
of that date I would desire to give a clearer sketch
of my comrades in this enterprise, and of the asso-
ciates whom we had already gathered together in
South America. I speak freely, and I leave the
use of my material to your own discretion, Mr.
90 The Lost World
McArdle, since it is through your hands that this
report must pass before it reaches the world.
HPHE scientific attainments of Professor Sum-
merlee are too well known for me to trouble
to recapitulate them. He is better equipped for
a rough expedition of this sort than one would
imagine at first sight. His tall, gaunt, stringy
figure is insensible to fatigue, and his dry, half-
sarcastic, and often wholly unsympathetic manner
is uninfluenced by any change in his surroundings.
Though in his sixty-sixth year, I have never heard
him express any dissatisfaction at the occasional
hardships which we have had to encounter. I
had regarded his presence as an encumbrance to
the expedition, but, as a matter of fact, I am now
well convinced that his power of endurance is as
great as my own. In temper he is naturally
acid and sceptical. From the beginning he has
never concealed his belief that Professor Challenger
is an absolute fraud, that we are all embarked
upon an absurd wild-goose chase and that we are
likely to reap nothing but disappointment and
danger in South America, and corresponding
ridicule in England. Such are the views which,
with much passionate distortion of his thin
features and wagging of his thin, goat-like beard,
he poured into our ears all the way from South-
ampton to Manaos. Since landing from the boat
he has obtained some consolation from the beauty
and variety of the insect and bird life around him,
for he is absolutely whole-hearted in his devotion
We Disappear into the Unknown 91
to science. He spends his days flitting through
the woods with his shot-gun and his butterfly-net,
and his evenings in mounting the many specimens
he has acquired. Among his minor peculiarities
are that he is careless as to his attire, unclean
in his person, exceedingly absent-minded in his
habits, and addicted to smoking a short briar
pipe, which is seldom out of his mouth. He has
been upon several scientific expeditions in his
youth (he was with Robertson in Papua), and
the life of the camp and the canoe is nothing fresh
J^ORD JOHN ROXTON has some points in
common with Professor Summerlee, and others
in which they are the very antithesis to each other.
He is twenty years younger, but has something
of the same spare, scraggy physique. As to his
appearance, I have, as I recollect, described it in
that portion of my narrative which I have left
behind me in London. He is exceedingly neat
and prim in his ways, dresses always with great
care in white drill suits and high brown mosquito-
boots, and shaves at least once a day. Like most
men of action, he is laconic in speech, and sinks
readily into his own thoughts, but he is always
quick to answer a question or join in a conversa-
tion, talking in a queer, jerky, half-humorous
fashion. His knowledge of the world, and very
especially of South America, is surprising, and he
has a whole-hearted belief in the possibilities of
our journey which is not to be dashed by the
92 The Lost World
sneers of Professor Summerlee. He has a gentle
voice and a quiet manner, but behind his twinkling
blue eyes there lurks a capacity for furious wrath
and implacable resolution, the more dangerous
because they are held in leash. He spoke little
of his own exploits in Brazil and Peru, but it
was a revelation to me to find the excitement
which was caused by his presence among the
riverine natives, who looked upon him as their
champion and protector. The exploits of the
Red Chief, as they called him, had become legends
among them, but the real facts, as far as I could
learn them, were amazing enough.
These were that Lord John had found himself
some years before in that no-man's-land which is
formed by the half-defined frontiers between Peru,
Brazil, and Columbia. In this great district the
wild rubber tree flourishes, and has become, as
in the Congo, a curse to the natives which can
only be compared to their forced labor under
the Spaniards upon the old silver mines of Darien.
A handful of villainous half-breeds dominated
the country, armed such Indians as would support
them, and turned the rest into slaves, terrorizing
them with the most inhuman tortures in order
to force them to gather the india-rubber, which
was then floated down the river to Para. Lord
John Roxton expostulated on behalf of the wretched
victims, and received nothing but threats and
insults for his pains. He then formally declared
war against Pedro Lopez, the leader of the slave-
drivers, enrolled a band of runaway slaves in
We Disappear into the Unknown 93
his service, armed them, and conducted a cam-
paign, which ended by his killing with his own
hands the notorious half-breed and breaking
down the system which he represented.
No wonder that the ginger-headed man with
the silky voice and the free and easy manners
was now looked upon with deep interest upon the
banks of the great South American river, though
the feelings he inspired were naturally mixed,
since the gratitude of the natives was equaled
by the resentment of those who desired to exploit
them. One useful result of his former experiences
was that he could talk fluently in the Lingoa
Geral, which is the peculiar talk, one-third Portu-
guese and two-thirds Indian, which is current all
I have said before that Lord John Roxton was
a South Americomaniac. He could not speak of
that great country without ardor, and this ardor
was infectious, for, ignorant as I was, he fixed
my attention and stimulated my curiosity. How
I wish I could reproduce the glamor of his dis-
courses, the peculiar mixture of accurate knowledge
and of racy imagination which gave them their
fascination, until even the Professor's cynical
and sceptical smile would gradually vanish from
his thin face as he listened. He would tell the
history of the mighty river so rapidly explored
(for some of the first conquerors of Peru actually
crossed the entire continent upon its waters),
and yet so unknown in regard to all that lay behind
its ever-changing banks.
94 The Lost World
"What is there?" he would cry, pointing to
the north. "Wood and marsh and impenetrated
jungle. Who knows what it may shelter? And
there to the south? A wilderness of swampy
forest, where no white man has ever been. The
unknown is up against us on every side. Out-
side the narrow lines of the rivers what does any-
one know? Who will say what is possible in such
a country? Why should old man Challenger
not be right?" At which direct defiance the
stubborn sneer would reappear upon Professor
Summerlee's face, and he would sit, shaking his
sardonic head in unsympathetic silence, behind
the cloud of his briar-root pipe.
CO much, for the moment, for my two white
companions, whose characters and limitations
will be further exposed, as surely as my own, as
this narrative proceeds. But already we have
enrolled certain retainers who may play no small
part in what is to come. The first is a gigantic
negro named Zambo, who is a black Hercules,
as willing as any horse, and about as intelligent.
Him we enlisted at Para, on the recommendation
of the steamship company, on whose vessels he
had learned to speak a halting English.
It was at Para also that we engaged Gomez and
Manuel, two half-breeds from up the river, just
come down with a cargo of redwood. They were
swarthy fellows, bearded and fierce, as active
and wiry as panthers. Both of them had spent
their lives in those upper waters of the Amazon
We Disappear into the Unknown 95
which we were about to explore, and it was this
recommendation which had caused Lord John to
engage them. One of them, Gomez, had the
further advantage that he could speak excellent
English. These men were willing to act as our
personal servants, to cook, to row, or to make
themselves useful in any way at a payment of
fifteen dollars a month. Besides these, we had
engaged three Mojo Indians from Bolivia, who
are the most skilful at fishing and boat work of
all the river tribes. The chief of these we called
Mojo, after his tribe, and the others are known
as Jose and Fernando. Three white men, then,
two half-breeds, one negro, and three Indians
made up the personnel of the little expedition
which lay waiting for its instructions at Manaos
before starting upon its singular quest.
AT last, after a weary week, the day had come
and the hour. I ask you to picture the shaded
sitting-room of the Fazenda St. Ignatio, two miles
inland from the town of Manaos. Outside lay
the yellow, brassy glare of the sunshine, with the
shadows of the palm trees as black and definite as
the trees themselves. The air was calm, full of
the eternal hum of insects, a tropical chorus of
many octaves, from the deep drone of the bee
to the high, keen pipe of the mosquito. Beyond
the veranda was a small cleared garden, bounded
with cactus hedges and adorned with clumps of
flowering shrubs, round which the great blue
butterflies and the tiny humming-birds fluttered
96 The Lost World
and darted in crescents of sparkling light. Within
we were seated round the cane table, on which lay
a sealed envelope. Inscribed upon it, in the
jagged handwriting of Professor Challenger, were
the words :
"Instructions to Lord John Roxton and party.
To be opened at Manaos upon July I5th, at 12 o'clock
Lord John had placed his watch upon the table
"We have seven more minutes/' said he. "The
old dear is very precise."
Professor Summcrlee gave an acid smile as he
picked up the envelope in his gaunt hand.
"What can it possibly matter whether we open
it now or in seven minutes?" said he. "It is all
part and parcel of the same system of quackery
and nonsense, for which I regret to say that the
writer is notorious."
"Oh, come, we must play the game accordin'
to rules," said Lord John. "It's old man Chal-
lenger's show and we are here by his good will, so
it would be rotten bad form if we didn't follow
his instructions to the letter."
"A pretty business it is!" cried the Professor,
bitterly. "It struck me as preposterous in Lon-
don, but I'm bound to say that it seems even more
so upon closer acquaintance. I don't know what
is inside this envelope, but, unless it is something
pretty definite, I shall be much tempted to take
the next down-river boat and catch the Bolivia at
We Disappear into the Unknown 97
Para. After all, I have some more responsible
work in the world than to run about disproving
the assertions of a lunatic. Now, Roxton, surely
it is time/'
"Time it is/' said Lord John. "You can blow
the whistle." He took up the envelope and cut it
with his penknife. From it he drew a folded sheet
of paper. This he carefully opened out and
flattened on the table. It was a blank sheet. He
turned it over. Again it was blank. We looked
at each other in a bewildered silence, which was
broken by a discordant burst of derisive laughter
from Professor Summcrlee.
"It is an open admission," he cried. "What
more do you want ? The fellow is a self-confessed
humbug. We have only to return home and
report him as the brazen imposter that he is."
"Invisible ink!" I suggested.
"I don't think!" said Lord Roxton, holding the
paper to the light. "No, young fellah my lad,
there is no use deceiving yourself. I'll go bail for
it that nothing has ever been written upon this
"May I come in?" boomed a voice from the
HP HE shadow of a squat figure had stolen across
the patch of sunlight. That voice! That
monstrous breadth of shoulder! We sprang to
our feet with a gasp of astonishment as Challenger,
in a round, boyish straw-hat with a colored
ribbon Challenger, with his hands in his jacket-
98 The Lost World
pockets and his canvas shoes daintily pointing
as he walked appeared in the open space before
us. He threw back his head, and there he stood
in the golden glow with all his old Assyrian luxuri-
ance of beard, all his native insolence of drooping
eyelids and intolerant eyes.
"I fear," said he, taking out his watch, "that
I am a few minutes too late. When I gave you
this envelope I must confess that I had never
intended that you should open it, for it had been
my fixed intention to be with you before the hour.
The unfortunate delay can be apportioned between
a blundering pilot and an intrusive sandbank. I
fear that it has given my colleague, Professor
Summerlee, occasion to blaspheme."
"I am bound to say, sir," said Lord John, with
some sternness of voice, "that your turning up is a
considerable relief to us, for our mission seemed to
have come to a premature end. Even now I can't
for the life of me understand why you should have
worked it in so extraordinary a manner."
Instead of answering, Professor Challenger
entered, shook hands with myself and Lord
John, bowed with ponderous insolence to Professor
Summerlee, and sank back into a basket-chair,
which creaked and swayed beneath his weight.
"Is all ready for your journey?" he asked.
"We can start to-morrow."
"Then so you shall. You need no chart of
directions now, since you will have the inestimable
advantage of my own guidance. From the first
I had determined that I would myself preside
We Disappear into the Unknown 99
over your investigation. The most elaborate
charts would, as you will readily admit, be a poor
substitute for my own intelligence and advice.
As to the small ruse which I played upon you in
the matter of the envelope, it is clear that, had I
told you all my intentions, I should have been
forced to resist unwelcome pressure to travel out
"Not from me, sir!" exclaimed Professor Sum-
merlee, heartily. "So long as there was another
ship upon the Atlantic."
Challenger waved him away with his great hairy
" Your common sense will, I am sure, sustain my
objection and realize that it was better that I
should direct my own movements and appear
only at the exact moment when my presence was
needed. That moment has now arrived. You
are in safe hands. You will not now fail to reach
your destination. From henceforth I take com-
mand of this expedition, and I must ask you to
complete your preparations to-night, so that we
may be able to make an early start in the morning.
My time is of value, and the same thing may be
said, no doubt, in a lesser degree of your own. I
propose, therefore, that we push on as rapidly as
possible, until I have demonstrated what you have
come to see."
LORD JOHN ROXTON has chartered a large
steam launch, the Esmeralda, which was to
carry us up the river. So far as climate goes, it
100 The Lost World
was immaterial what time we chose for our expedi-
tion, as the temperature ranges from seventy-
five to ninety degrees both summer and wintex,
with no appreciable difference in heat. In mois-
ture, however, it is otherwise; from December to
May is the period of the rains, and during this
time the river slowly rises until it attains a height
of nearly forty feet above its low-water mark.
It floods the banks, extends in great lagoons over
a monstrous waste of country, and forms a huge
district, called locally the Gapo, which is for the
most part too marshy for foot-travel and too
shallow for boating. About June the waters begin
to fall, and are at their lowest at October or
November. Thus our expedition was at the time
of the dry season, when the great river and its
tributaries were more or less in a normal condition.
The current of the river is a slight one, the drop
being not greater than eight inches in a mile. No
stream could be more convenient for navigation,
since the prevailing wind is south-east, and sailing
boats may make a continuous progress to the
Peruvian frontier, dropping down again with the
current. In our own case the excellent engines
of the Esmeralda could disregard the sluggish flow
of the stream, and we made as rapid progress as if
we were navigating a stagnant lake. For three
days we steamed north-westwards up a stream
which even here, a thousand miles from its mouth,
was still so enormous that from its center the two
banks were mere shadows upon the distant sky-
line. On the fourth day after leaving Manaos
We Disappear into the Unknown 101
we turned into a tributary which at its mouth was
little smaller than the main stream. It narrowed
rapidly, however, and after two more days*
steaming we reached an Indian village, where the
Professor insisted that we should land, and that
the Esmeralda should be sent back to Manaos.
We should soon come upon rapids, he explained,
which would make its further use impossible.
He added privately that we were now approach-
ing the door of the unknown country, and that
the fewer whom we took into our confidence the
better it would be. To this end also he made
each of us give our word of honor that we would
publish or say nothing which would give any exact
clue as to the whereabouts of our travels, while the
servants were all solemnly sworn to the same effect.
It is for this reason that I am compelled to be
vague in my narrative, and I would warn my
readers that in any map or diagram which I may
give the relation of places to each other may be
correct, but the points of the compass are care-
fully confused, so that in no way can it be taken
as an actual guide to the country. Professor
Challenger's reasons for secrecy may be valid or
not, but we had no choice but to adopt them, for
he was prepared to abandon the whole expedition
rather than modify the conditions upon which he
would guide us.
TT was August 2nd when we snapped our last
link with the outer world by bidding farewell
to the Esmeralda. Since then four days have
102 The Lost World
passed, during which we have engaged two large
canoes from the Indians, made of so light a material
(skins over a bamboo framework) that we should
be able to carry them round any obstacle. These
we have loaded with all our effects, and have
engaged two additional Indians to help us in the
navigation. I understand that they are the very
two Ataca and Ipetu by name who accom- ,
panied Professor Challenger upon his previous
journey. They appeared to be terrified at the
prospect of repeating it, but the chief has patri-
archal powers in these countries, and if the bargain
is good in his eyes the clansman has little choice
in the matter.
So to-morrow we disappear into the unknown.
This account I am transmitting down the river
by canoe, and it may be our last word to those
who are interested in our fate. I have, according
to our arrangement, addressed it to you, my dear
Mr. McArdle, and I leave it to your discretion to
delete, alter, or do what you like with it. From
the assurance of Professor Challenger's manner
and in spite of the continued scepticism of Pro-
,fessor Summerlee I have no doubt that our
leader will make good his statement, and that we
are really on the eve of some most remarkable
" The Outlying Pickets of the New World"
OUR friends at home may well rejoice with
Us, for we are at our goal, and up to a
point, at least, we have shown that the
statement of Professor Challenger can be verified.
We have not, it is true, ascended the plateau,
but it lies before us, and even Professor Sum-
merlee is in a more chastened mood. Not that
he will for an instant admit that his rival could
be right, but he is less persistent in his incessant
objections, and has sunk for the most part into
an observant silence. I must hark back, however,
and continue my narrative from where I dropped
it. We are sending home one of our local Indians
who is injured, and I am committing this letter
to his charge, with considerable doubts in my
mind as to whether it will ever come to hand.
When I wrote last we were about to leave the
Indian village where we had been deposited by
the Esmeralda. I have to begin my report by
bad news, for the first serious personal trouble (I
pass over the incessant bickerings between the
Professors) occurred this evening, and might have
had a tragic ending. I have spoken of our English-
104 The Lost World
speaking half-breed, Gomez a fine worker and
a willing fellow, but afflicted, I fancy, with the
vice of curiosity, which is common enough among
such men. On the last evening he seems to have
hid himself near the hut in which we were dis-
cussing our plans, and, being observed by our
huge negro Zambo, who is as faithful as a dog and
has the hatred which all his race bear to the half-
breeds, he was dragged out and carried into our
presence. Gomez whipped out his knife, however,
and but for the huge strength of his captor, which
enabled him to disarm him with one hand, he
would certainly have stabbed him. The matter
has ended in reprimands, the opponents have been
compelled to shake hands, and there is every hope
that all will be well. As to the feuds of the two
learned men, they are continuous and bitter. It
must be admitted that Challenger is provocative
in the last degree, but Summerlee has an acid
tongue, which makes matters worse. Last night
Challenger said that he never cared to walk on
the Thames Embankment and look up the river,
as it was always sad to see one's own eventual
goal. He is convinced, of course, that he is
destined for Westminster Abbey. Summerlee re-
joined, however, with a sour smile, by saying that
he understood that Millbank Prison had been
pulled down. Challenger's conceit is too colossal
to allow him to be really annoyed. He only
smiled in his beard and repeated "Really! really!"
in the pitying tone one would use to a child.
Indeed, they are children both the one wizened
Pickets of the New World 105
and cantankerous, the other formidable and
overbearing, yet each with a brain which has
put him in the front rank of his scientific
age. Brain, character, soul only as one sees
more of life does one understand how distinct
The very next day we did actually make our
start upon this remarkable expedition. We found
that all our possessions fitted very easily into the
two canoes, and we divided our personnel, six in
each, taking the obvious precaution in the interests
of peace of putting one Professor into each canoe.
Personally, I was with Challenger, who was in a
beatific humor, moving about as one in a silent
ecstasy and beaming benevolence from every fea-
ture. I have had some experience of him in other
moods, however, and shall be the less surprised
when the thunderstorms suddenly come up amidst
the sunshine. If it is impossible to be at your
ease, it is equally impossible to be dull in his com-
pany, for one is always in a state of half-tremulous
doubt as to what sudden turn his formidable
temper may take.
For two days we made our way up a good-sized
river, some hundreds of yards broad, and dark in
color, but transparent, so that one could usually
see the bottom. The affluents of the Amazon
are, half of them, of this nature, while the other
half are whitish and opaque, the difference depend-
ing upon the class of country through which they
have flowed. The dark indicate vegetable decay,
while the others point to clayey soil. Twice we
106 The Lost World
came across rapids, and in each case made a
portage of half a mile or so to avoid them. The
woods on either side were primeval, which are
more easily penetrated than woods of the second
growth, and we had no great difficulty in carrying
our canoes through them. How shall I ever forget
the solemn mystery of it ? The height of the trees
and the thickness of the boles exceeded anything
which I in my town-bred life could have imagined,
shooting upwards in magnificent columns until,
at an enormous distance above our heads, we could
dimly discern the spot where they threw out their
side-branches into Gothic upward curves which
coalesced to form one great matted roof of verdure,
through which only an occasional golden ray of
sunshine shot downwards to trace a thin dazzling
line of light amidst the majestic obscurity. As
we walked noiselessly amid the thick, soft carpet
of decaying vegetation the hush fell upon our souls
which comes upon us in the twilight of the Abbey,
and even Professor Challenger's full-chested notes
sank into a whisper. Alone, I should have been
ignorant of the names of these giant growths, but
our men of science pointed out the cedars, the
great silk cotton trees, and the redwood trees,
with all that profusion of various plants which
has made this continent the chief supplier to the
human race of those gifts of Nature which depend
upon the vegetable world, while it is the most
backward in those products which come from
animal life. Vivid orchids and wonderful colored
lichens smoldered upon the swarthy tree-trunks
Pickets of the New World 107
and where a wandering shaft of light fell full upon
the golden allamanda, the scarlet star-clusters
of the tacsonia, or the rich deep blue of ipomaea,
the effect was as a dream of fairyland. In these
great wastes of forest, life, which abhors darkness,
struggles ever upwards to the light. Every plant,
even the smaller ones, curls and writhes to the
green surface, twining itself round its stronger
and taller brethren in the effort. Climbing plants
are monstrous and luxuriant, but others which
have never been known to climb elsewhere learn
the art as an escape from that somber shadow, so
that the common nettle, the jasmine, and even
the jacitara palm tree can be seen circling the
stems of the cedars and striving to reach their
crowns. Of animal life there was no movement
amid the majestic vaulted aisles which stretched
from us as we walked, but a constant movement
far above our heads told of that multitudinous
world of snake and monkey, bird and sloth, which
lived in the sunshine, and looked down in wonder
at our tiny, dark, stumbling figures in the obscure
depths immeasurably below them. At dawn and
at sunset the howler monkeys screamed together
and the parrakeets broke into shrill chapter, but
during the hot hours of the day only the full drone
of insects, like the beat of a distant surf, filled
the ear, while nothing moved amid the solemn
vistas of stupendous trunks, fading away into the
darkness which held us in. Once some bandy-
legged, lurching creature, an ant-eater or a bear,
scuttled clumsily amid the shadows. It was the
108 The Lost World
only sign of earth life which I saw in this great
AND yet there were indications that even
human life itself was not far from us in those
mysterious recesses. On the third day out we
were aware of a singular deep throbbing in the air,
rhythmic and solemn, coming and going fitfully
throughout the morning. The two boats were
paddling within a few yards of each other when
first we heard it, and our Indians remained motion-
less, as if they had been turned to bronze, listening
intently with expressions of terror upon their
"What is it, then?" I asked.
"Drums," said Lord John, carelessly; "war
drums. I have heard them before."
"Yes, sir, war drums," said Gomez, the half-
breed. "Wild Indians, bra vos, not mansos; they
watch us every mile of the way; kill us if they
"How can they watch us?" I asked, gazing
into the dark, motionless void.
The half-breed shrugged his broad shoulders.
"The Indians know. They have their own way.
They watch us. They talk the drum talk to each
other. Kill us if they can."
By the afternoon of that day my pocket diary
shows me that it was Tuesday, August i8th at
least six or seven drums were throbbing from
various points. Sometimes they beat quickly,
sometimes slowly, sometimes in obvious question
Pickets of the New World 109
and answer, one far to the east breaking out in a
high staccato rattle, and being followed after a
pause by a deep roll from the north. There was
something indescribably nerve-shaking and menac-
ing in that constant mutter, which seemed to
shape itself into the very syllables of the half-
breed, endlessly repeated, "We will kill you if we
can. We will kill you if we can." No one ever
moved in the silent woods. All the peace and
soothing of quiet Nature lay in that dark curtain
of vegetation, but away from behind there came
ever the one message from our fellow-man. "We
will kill you if we can," said the men in the east.
"We will kill you if we can," said the men in the
All day the drums rumbled and whispered,
while their menace reflected itself in the faces of
our colored companions. Even the hardy, swag-
gering half-breed seemed cowed. I learned, how-
ever, that day once for all that both Summerlee and
Challenger possessed that highest type of bravery,
the bravery of the scientific mind. Theirs was
the spirit which upheld Darwin among the gauchos
of the Argentine or Wallace among the head-
hunters of Malaya. It is decreed by a merciful
Nature that the human brain cannot think of two
things simultaneously, so that if it be steeped in
curiosity as to science it has no room for merely
personal considerations. All day amid that in-
cessant and mysterious menace our two Professors
watched every bird upon the wing, and every
shrub upon the bank, with many a sharp wordy
110 The Lost World
contention, when the snarl of Summerlee came
quick upon the deep growl of Challenger, but with
no more sense of danger and no more reference to
drum-beating Indians than if they were seated
together in the smoking-room of the Royal Society's
Club in St. James's Street. Once only did they
condescend to discuss them.
"Miranha or Amajuaca cannibals," said Chal-
lenger, jerking his thumb towards the reverberating
"No doubt, sir," Summerlee answered. "Like
all such tribes, I shall expect to find them of poly-
synthetic speech and of Mongolian type."
" Polysynthetic certainly," said Challenger, in-
dulgently. " I am not aware that any other type
of language exists in this continent, and I have
notes of more than a hundred. The Mongolian
theory I regard with deep suspicion."
"I should have thought that even a limited
knowledge of comparative anatomy would have
helped to verify it," said Summerlee, bitterly.
Challenger thrust out his aggressive chin until
he was all beard and hat-rim. "No doubt, sir,
a limited knowledge would have that effect. When
one's knowledge is exhaustive, one comes to other
conclusions." They glared at each other in
mutual defiance, while all round rose the distant
whisper, "We will kill you we will kill you if
That night we moored our canoes with heavy
stones for anchors in the center of the stream, and
made every preparation for a possible attack.
IT WAS THE FIRST DIRECT CORROBORATION
OF THE TRUTH OF PROFESSOR CHALLENGER'S STORY
Pickets of the New World 111
Nothing came, however, and with the dawn we
pushed upon our way, the drum-beating dying
out behind us. About three o'clock in the after-
noon we came to a very steep rapid, more than a
mile long the very one in which Professor Chal-
lenger had suffered disaster upon his first journey.
I confess that the sight of it consoled me, for it
was really the first direct corroboration, slight as
it was, of the truth of his story. The Indians
carried first our canoes and then our stores through
the brushwood, which is very thick at this point,
while we four whites, our rifles on our shoulders,
walked between them and any danger coming from
the woods. Before evening we had successfully
passed the rapids, and made our way some ten
miles above them, where we anchored for the night.
At this point I reckoned that we had come not less
than a hundred miles up the tributary from the
It was in the early forenoon of the next day
that we made the great departure. Since dawn
Professor Challenger had been acutely uneasy,
continually scanning each bank of the river. Sud-
denly he gave an exclamation of satisfaction and
pointed to a single tree, which projected at a
peculiar angle over the side of the stream.
"What do you make of that?" he asked.
"It is surely an Assai palm," said Summerlee.
"Exactly. It was an Assai palm which I took
for my landmark. The secret opening is half a
mile onwards upon the other side of the river.
There is no break ir> the trees. That is the wonder
112 The Lost World
and the mystery of it. There where you see light-
green rushes instead of dark-green undergrowth,
there between the great cotton woods, that is my
private gate into the unknown. Push through,
and you will understand/'
TT was indeed a wonderful place. Having reached
the spot marked by a line of light-green rushes,
we poled out two canoes through them for some
hundreds of yards, and eventually emerged into
a placid and shallow stream, running clear and
transparent over a sandy bottom. It may have
been twenty yards across, and was banked in on
each side by most luxuriant vegetation. No one
who had not observed that for a short distance
reeds had taken the place of shrubs, could possibly
have guessed the existence of such a stream or
dreamed of the fairyland beyond.
For a fairyland it was the most wonderful
that the imagination of man could conceive. The
thick vegetation met overhead, interlacing into
a natural pergola, and through this tunnel of
verdure in a golden twilight flowed the green,
pellucid river, beautiful in itself, but marvelous
from the strange tints thrown by the vivid light
from above filtered and tempered in its fall. Clear
as crystal, motionless as a sheet of glass, green
as the edge of an iceberg, it stretched in front of
us under its leafy archway, every stroke of our
paddles sending a thousand ripples across its
shining surface. It was a fitting avenue to a land
of wonders. All sign of the Indians had passed
Pickets of the New World 113
away, but animal life was more frequent, and the
tameness of the creatures showed that they knew
nothing of the hunter. Fuzzy little black-velvet
monkeys, with snow-white teeth and gleaming,
mocking eyes, chattered at us as we passed. With
a dull, heavy splash an occasional cayman plunged
in from the bank. Once a dark, clumsy tapir
stared at us from a gap in the bushes, and then
lumbered away through the forest; once, too, the
yellow, sinuous form of a great puma whisked
amid the brushwood, and its green, baleful eyes
glared hatred at us over its tawny shoulder. Bird
life was abundant, especially the wading birds,
stork, heron, and ibis gathering in little groups,
blue, scarlet, and white, upon every log which
jutted from the bank, while beneath us the crystal
water was alive with fish of every shape and
For three days we made our way up this tunnel
of hazy green sunshine. On the longer stretches
one could hardly tell as one looked ahead where
the distant green water ended and the distant
green archway began. The deep peace of this
strange waterway was unbroken by any sign of
"No Indian here. Too much afraid. Curu-
puri," said Gomez.
"Curupuri is the spirit of the woods," Lord
John explained. "It's a name for any kind of
devil. The poor beggars think that there is some-
thing fearsome in this direction, and therefore
they avoid it."
114 The Lost World
the third day it became evident that our
journey in the canoes could not last much
longer, for the stream was rapidly growing more
shallow. Twice in as many hours we stuck upon
the bottom. Finally we pulled the boats up
among the brushwood and spent the night on the
bank of the river. In the morning Lord John and
I made our way for a couple of miles through the
forest, keeping parallel with the stream; but as
it grew ever shallower we returned and reported,
what Professor Challenger had already suspected,
that we had reached the highest point to which
the canoes could be brought. We drew them up,
therefore, and concealed them among the bushes,
blazing a tree with our axes, so that we should
find them again. Then we distributed the various
burdens among us guns, ammunition, food, a
tent, blankets, and the rest and, shouldering
our packages, we set forth upon the more laborious
stage of our journey.
An unfortunate quarrel between our pepperpots
marked the outset of our new stage. Challenger
had from the moment of joining us issued direc-
tions to the whole party, much to the evident
discontent of Summerlee. Now, upon his assign-
ing some duty to his fellow-Professor (it was only
the carrying of an aneroid barometer), the matter
suddenly came to a head.
"May I ask, sir," said Summerlee, with vicious
calm, "in what capacity you take it upon yourself
to issue these orders?"
Challenger glared and bristled.
Pickets of the New World 115
"I do it, Professor Summerlee, as leader of this
"I am compelled to tell you, sir, that I do not
recognize you in that capacity."
"Indeed!" Challenger bowed with unwieldy
sarcasm. " Perhaps you would define my exact
"Yes, sir. You are a man whose veracity is
upon trial, and this committee is here to try it.
You walk, sir, with your judges."
"Dear me!" said Challenger, seating himself
on the side of one of the canoes. " In that case you
will, of course, go on your way, and I will follow
at my lesiure. If I am not the leader you cannot
expect me to lead."
Thank heaven that there were two sane men
Lord John Roxton and myself to prevent the
petulance and folly of our learned Professors from
sending us back empty-handed to London. Such
arguing and pleading and explaining before we
could get them mollified! Then at last Summer-
lee, with his sneer and his pipe, would move for-
wards, and Challenger would come rolling and
grumbling after. By some good fortune we dis-
covered about this time that both our savants
had the very poorest opinion of Dr. Illingworth
of Edinburgh. Thenceforward that was our one
safety, and every strained situation was relieved
by our introducing the name of the Scotch zool-
ogist, when both our Professors would form a
temporary alliance and friendship in their detesta-
tion and abuse of this common rival.
116 The Lost World
ADVANCING in single file along the bank of
the stream, we soon found that it narrowed
down to a mere brook, and finally that it lost itself
in a great green morass of sponge-like mosses,
into which we sank up to our knees. The place
was horribly haunted by clouds of mosquitoes
and every form of flying pest, so we were glad
to find solid ground again and to make a circuit
among the trees, which enabled us to outflank
this pestilent morass, which droned like an
organ in the distance, so loud was it with insect
On the second day after leaving our canoes we
found that the whole character of the country
changed. Our road was persistently upwards,
and as we ascended the woods became thinner
and lost their tropical luxuriance. The huge trees
of the alluvial Amazonian plain gave place to the
Phoenix and coco palms, growing in scattered
clumps, with thick brushwood between. In the
damper hollows the Mauritia palms threw out
their graceful drooping fronds. We traveled en-
tirely by compass, and once or twice there were
differences of opinion between Challenger and the
two Indians, when, to quote the Professor's indig-
nant words, the whole party agreed to "trust the
fallacious instincts of undeveloped savages rather
than the highest product of modern European
culture/' That we were justified in doing so was
shown upon the third day, when Challenger ad-
mitted that he recognized several landmarks of
his former journey, and in one spot we actually
Pickets of the New World 117
came upon four fire-blackened stones, which must
have marked a camping-place.
The road still ascended, and we crossed a rock-
studded slope which took two days to traverse.
The vegetation had again changed, and only the
vegetable ivory tree remained, with a great pro-
fusion of wonderful orchids, among which I learned
to recognize the rare Nuttonia Vexillaria and the
glorious pink and scarlet blossoms of Cattleya
and odontoglossum. Occasional brooks with peb-
bly bottoms and fern-draped banks gurgled down
the shallow gorges in the hill, and offered good
camping-grounds every evening on the banks of
some rock-studded pool, where swarms of little
blue-backed fish, about the size and shape of
English trout, gave us a delicious supper.
On the ninth day after leaving the canoes,
having done, as I reckon, about a hundred and
twenty miles, we began to emerge from the trees,
which had grown smaller until they were mere
shrubs. Their place was taken by an immense
wilderness of bamboo, which grew so thickly that
we could only penetrate it by cutting a pathway
with the machetes and billhooks of the Indians.
It took us a long day, traveling from seven in the
morning till eight at night, with only two breaks
of one hour each, to get through this obstacle.
Anything more monotonous and wearying could
not be imagined, for, even at the most open places,
I could not see more than ten or twelve yards,
while usually my vision was limited to the back
of Lord John's cotton jacket in front of me, and
118 The Lost World
to the yellow wall within a foot of me on either
side. From above came one thin knife-edge of
sunshine, and fifteen feet over our heads one saw
the tops of the reeds swaying against the deep
blue sky. I do not know what kind of creatures
inhabit such a thicket, but several times we heard
the plunging of large, heavy animals quite close
to us. From their sounds Lord John judged
them to be some form of wild cattle. Just as
night fell we cleared the belt of bamboos, and at
once formed our camp, exhausted by the inter-
minable day. j
Early next morning we were again afoot, and
found that the character of the country had
changed once again. Behind us was the wall of
bamboo, as definite as if it marked the course of a
river. In front was an open plain, sloping slightly
upwards and dotted with clumps of tree-ferns,
the whole curving before us until it ended in a
long, whale-backed ridge. This we reached about
midday, only to find a shallow valley beyond,
rising once again into a gentle incline which led
to a low, rounded sky-line. It was here, while
we crossed the first of these hills, that an in-
cident occurred which may or may not have been
PROFESSOR CHALLENGER, who with the
two local Indians was in the van of the party,
stopped suddenly and pointed excitedly to the
right. As he did so we saw, at the distance of a
mile or so, something which appeared to be a huge
Pickets of the New World 119
gray bird flap slowly up from the ground and skim
smoothly off, flying very low and straight, until
it was lost among the tree-ferns.
"Did you see it?" cried Challenger, in exulta-
tion. "Summerlee, did you see it?"
His colleague was staring at the spot where the
creature had disappeared.
"What do you claim that it was?" he asked.
"To the best of my belief, a pterodactyl."
Summerlee burst into derisive laughter "A
pter-fiddlestick!" said he. "It was a stork, if
ever I saw one."
Challenger was too furious to speak. He sim-
ply swung his pack upon his back and continued
upon his march. Lord John came abreast of me,
however, and his face was more grave than was
his wont. He had his Zeiss glasses in his hand.
"I focused it before it got over the trees," said
he. "I won't undertake to say what it was, but I'll
risk my reputation as a sportsman that it wasn't
any bird that ever I clapped eyes on in my life."
So there the matter stands. Are we really just
at the edge of the unknown, encountering the out-
lying pickets of this lost world of which our leader
speaks? I give you the incident as it occurred
and you will know as much as I do. It stands
alone, for we saw nothing more which could be
A ND now, my readers, if ever I have any, I have
brought you up the broad river, and through
the screen of rushes, and down the green tunnel,
120 The Lost World
and up the long slope of palm trees, and through
the bamboo brake, and across the plain of tree-
ferns. At last our destination lay in full sight of
us. When we had crossed the second ridge we
saw before us an irregular, palm-studded plain,
and then the line of high red cliffs which I have
seen in the picture. There it lies, even as I write,
and there can be no question that it is the same.
At the nearest point it is about seven miles from
our present camp, and it curves away, stretching
as far as I can see. Challenger struts about like
a prize peacock, and Summerlee is silent, but still
sceptical. Another day should bring some of
our doubts to an end. Meanwhile, as Jose*, whose
arm was pierced by a broken bamboo, insists upon
returning, I send this letter back in his charge,
and only hope that it may eventually come to
hand. I will write again as the occasion serves.
I have enclosed with this a rough chart of our
journey, which may have the effect of making
the account rather easier to understand.
"Who could have Foreseen it?"
A)READFUL thing has happened to us.
Who could have foreseen it ? I cannot fore-
see any end to our troubles. It may be that
we are condemned to spend our whole lives in this
strange, inaccessible place. I am still so confused
that I can hardly think clearly of the facts of the
present or of the chances of the future. To my
astounded senses the one seems most terrible and
the other as black as night.
No men have ever found themselves in a worse
position ; nor is there any use in disclosing to you
our exact geographical situation and asking our
friends for a relief party. Even if they could send
one, our fate will in all human probability be
decided long before it could arrive in South
We are, in truth, as far from any human aid
as if we were in the moon. If we are to win
through, it is only our own qualities which can save
us. I have as companions three remarkable men,
men of great brain-power and of unshaken cour-
age. There lies our one and only hope. It is
only when I look upon the untroubled faces of
122 The Lost World
my comrades that I see some glimmer through
the darkness. Outwardly I trust that I appear
as unconcerned as they. Inwardly I am filled
Let me give you, with as much detail as I can,
the sequence of events which have led us to this
When I finished my last letter I stated that we
were within seven miles from an enormous line
of ruddy cliffs, which encircled, beyond all doubt,
the plateau of which Professor Challenger spoke.
Their height, as we approached them, seemed to
me in some places to be greater than he had stated
running up in parts to at least a thousand feet
and they were curiously striated, in a manner
which is, I believe, characteristic of basaltic up-
heavals. Something of the sort is to be seen in
Salisbury Crags at Edinburgh. The summit showed
every sign of a luxuriant vegetation, with bushes
near the edge, and farther back many high trees.
There was no indication of any life that we could
That night we pitched our camp immediately
under the cliff a most wild and desolate spot.
The crags above us were not merely perpendicular,
but curved outwards at the top, so that ascent
was out of the question. Close to us was the high
thin pinnacle of rock which I believe I mentioned
earlier in this narrative. It is like a broad red
church spire, the top of it being level with the
plateau, but a great chasm gaping between. On
the summit of it there grew one high tree. Both
Who Could have Foreseen it? 123
pinnacle and cliff were comparatively low some
five or six hundred feet, I should think.
"It was on that," said Professor Challenger,
pointing to this tree, "that the pterodactyl was
perched. I climbed half-way up the rock before
I shot him. I am inclined to think that a good
mountaineer like myself could ascend the rock
to the top, though he would, of course, be no
nearer to the plateau when he had done so."
As Challenger spoke of his pterodactyl I glanced
at Professor Summerlee, and for the first time I
seemed to see some signs of a dawning credulity
and repentance. There was no sneer upon his
thin lips, but, on the contrary, a gray, drawn look
of excitement and amazement. Challenger saw
it, too, and reveled in the first taste of victory.
"Of course," said he, with his clumsy and pon-
derous sarcasm, " Professor Summerlee will under-
stand that when I speak of a pterodactyl I mean
a stork only it is the kind of stork which has
no feathers, a leathery skin, membranous wings,
and teeth in its jaws." He grinned and blinked
and bowed until his colleague turned and walked
TN the morning, after a frugal breakfast of coffee
and manioc we had to be economical of our
stores we held a council of war as to the best
method of ascending to the plateau above us.
Challenger presided with a solemnity as if he
were the Lord Chief Justice on the Bench. Picture
him seated upon a rock, his absurd boyish straw
124 The Lost World
hat tilted on the back of his head, his supercilious
eyes dominating us from under his drooping lids,
his great black beard wagging as he slowly defined
our present situation and our future movements.
Beneath him you might have seen the three of
us myself, sunburnt, young, and vigorous after
our open-air tramp; Summerlee, solemn but still
critical, behind his eternal pipe ; Lord John, as keen
as a razor-edge, with his supple, alert figure leaning
upon his rifle, and his eager eyes fixed eagerly
upon the speaker. Behind us were grouped the
two swarthy half-breeds and the little knot of
Indians, while in front and above us towered
those huge, ruddy ribs of rocks which kept us
from our goal.
"I need not say/' said our leader, "that on the
occasion of my last visit I exhausted every means
of climbing the cliff, and where I failed I do not
think that anyone else is likely to succeed, for I
am something of a mountaineer. I had none of
the appliances of a rock-climber with me, but I
have taken the precaution to bring them now.
With their aid I am positive I could climb that
detached pinnacle to the summit; but so long as
the main cliff overhangs, it is vain to attempt
ascending that. I was hurried upon my last visit
by the approach of the rainy season and by the
exhaustion of my supplies. These considerations
limited my time, and I can only claim that I have
surveyed about six miles of the cliff to the east of
us, finding no possible way up. What, then,
shall we now do?"
Who Could have Foreseen it? 125
"There seems to be only one reasonable course/'
said Professor Summerlee. "If you have explored
the east, we should travel along the base of the
cliff to the west, and seek for a practicable point
for our ascent."
"That's it," said Lord John. "The odds are that
this plateau is of no great size, and we shall travel
round it until we either find an easy way up it,
or come back to the point from which we started"
"I have already explained to our young friend
here," said Challenger (he has a way of alluding
to me as if I were a school child ten years old),
"that it is quite impossible that there should be
an easy way up anywhere, for the simple reason
that if there were the summit would not be isolated,
and those conditions would not obtain which have
effected so singular an interference with the
general laws of survival. Yet I admit that there
may very well be places where an expert human
climber may reach the summit, and yet a cum-
brous and heavy animal be unable to descend.
It is certain that there is a point where an ascent
"How do you know that, sir?" asked Summer-
"Because my predecessor, the American Maple
White, actually made such an ascent. How
otherwise could he have seen the monster which
he sketched in his notebook?"
"There you reason somewhat ahead of the
proved facts," said the stubborn Summerlee. "I
admit your plateau, because I have seen it; but
126 The Lost World
I have not as yet satisfied myself that it contains
any form of life whatever."
"What you admit, sir, or what you do not admit,
is really of inconceivably small importance. I
am glad to perceive that the plateau itself has
actually obtruded itself upon your intelligence."
He glanced up at it, and then, to our amazement,
he sprang from his rock, and, seizing Summerlee
by the neck, he tilted his face into the air. "Now
sir!" he shouted, hoarse with excitement. "Do
I help you to realize that the plateau contains
some animal life?"
T HAVE said that a thick fringe of green overhung
the edge of the cliff. Out of this there had
emerged a black, glistening object. As it came
slowly forth and overhung the chasm, we saw that
it was a very large snake with a peculiar flat,
spade-like head. It wavered and quivered above
us for a minute, the morning sun gleaming upon
its sleek, sinuous coils. Then it slowly drew
inwards and disappeared.
Summerlee had been so interested that he had
stood unresisting while Challenger tilted his head
into the air. Now he shook his colleague off and
came back to his dignity.
"I should be glad, Professor Challenger," said
he, "if you could see your way to make any
remarks which may occur to you without seizing
me by the chin. Even the appearance of a very
ordinary rock python does not appear to justify
such a liberty."
Who Could have Foreseen it? 127
" But there is life upon the plateau all the same,"
his colleague replied in triumph. "And now,
having demonstrated this important conclusion
so that it is clear to anyone, however prejudiced
or obtuse, I am of opinion that we cannot do
better than break up our camp and travel to
westward until we find some means of ascent."
The ground at the foot of the cliff was rocky
and broken so that the going was slow and diffi-
cult. Suddenly we came, however, upon some-
thing which cheered our hearts. It was the
site of an old encampment, with several empty
Chicago meat tins, a bottle labeled "Brandy,"
a broken tin-opener, and a quantity of other
travelers' debris. A crumpled, disintegrated news-
paper revealed itself as the Chicago Democrat,
though the date had been obliterated.
"Not mine," said Challenger. "It must be
Lord John had been gazing curiously at a great
tree-fern which overshadowed the encampment.
"I say, look at this," said he. "I believe it is
meant for a sign-post."
A slip of hard wood had been nailed to the tree
in such a way as to point to the westward.
"Most certainly a sign-post," said Challenger.
"What else? Finding himself upon a dangerous
errand, our pioneer has left this sign so that any
party which follows him may know the way he has
taken. Perhaps we shall come upon some other
indications as we proceed."
We did indeed, but they were of a terrible and
128 The Lost World
most unexpected nature. Immediately beneath
the cliff there grew a considerable patch of high
bamboo, like that which we had traversed in our
journey. Many of these stems were twenty feet
high, with sharp, strong tops, so that even as they
stood they made formidable spears. We were
passing along the edge of this cover when my eye
was caught by the gleam of something white
within it. Thrusting in my head between the
stems, I found myself gazing at a fleshless skull.
The whole skeleton was there, but the skull had
detached itself and lay some feet nearer to the
With a few blows from the machetes of our
Indians we cleared the spot and were able to study
the details of this old tragedy. Only a few shreds
of clothes could still be distinguished, but there
were the remains of boots upon the bony feet,
and it was very clear that the dead man was a
European. A gold watch by Hudson, of New
York, and a chain which held a stylographic pen,
lay among the bones. There was also a silver
cigarette-case, with "J. C., from A. E. S.," upon
the lid. The state of the metal seemed to show
that the catastrophe had occurred no great time
"Who can he be?" asked Lord John. "Poor
devil! every bone in his body seems to be
"And the bamboo grows through his smashed
ribs," said Summerlee. "It is a fast-growing
plant, but it is surely inconceivable that this body
Who Could have Foreseen it? 129
could have been here while the canes grew to be
twenty feet in length."
"As to the man's identity/' said Professor Chal-
lenger, "I have no doubt whatever upon that
point. As I made my way up the river before I
reached you at the fazenda I instituted very par-
ticular inquiries about Maple White. At Para
they knew nothing. Fortunately, I had a definite
clew, for there was a particular picture in his
sketch-book which showed him taking lunch with
a certain ecclesiastic at Rosario. This priest I
was able to find, and though he proved a very
argumentative fellow, who took it absurdly amiss
that I should point out to him the corrosive effect
which modern science must have upon his beliefs,
he none the less gave me some positive informa-
tion. Maple White passed Rosario four years
ago, or two years before I saw his dead body. He
was not alone at the time, but there was a friend,
an American named James Colver, who remained
in the boat and did not meet this ecclesiastic.
I think, therefore, that there can be no doubt
that we are now looking upon the remains of this
James Colver. "
"Nor," said Lord John, "is there much doubt
as to how he met his death. He has fallen or
been chucked from the top, and so been impaled.
How else could he come by his broken bones, and
how could he have been stuck through by these
canes with their points so high above our heads?"
A hush came over us as we stood round these
shattered remains and realized the truth of Lord
130 The Lost World
John Roxton's words. The beetling head of the
cliff projected over the cane-brake. Undoubtedly
he had fallen from above. But had he fallen?
Had it been an accident? Or already ominous
and terrible possibilities began to form round that
We moved off in silence, and continued to coast
round the line of cliffs, which were as even and
unbroken as some of those monstrous Antarctic
ice-fields which I have seen depicted as stretch-
ing from horizon to horizon and towering high
above the mast-heads of the exploring vessel.
TN five miles we saw no rift or break. And then
suddenly we perceived something which filled
us with new hope. In a hollow of the rock, pro-
tected from rain, there was drawn a rough arrow
in chalk, pointing still to the westwards.
"Maple White again," said Professor Challenger.
"He had some presentiment that worthy foot-
steps would follow close behind him."
"He had chalk, then?"
"A box of colored chalks was among the effects
I found in his knapsack. I remember that the
white one was worn to a stump."
"That is certainly good evidence," said Sum-
merlee. "We can only accept his guidance and
follow on to the westward."
We had proceeded some five more miles when
again we saw a white arrow upon the rocks. It
was at a point where the face of the cliff was for
the first time split into a narrow cleft. Inside the
Who Could have Foreseen it? 131
cleft was a second guidance mark, which pointed
right up it with the tip somewhat elevated, as if
the spot indicated were above the level of the
It was a solemn place, for the walls were so
gigantic and the slit of blue sky so narrow and so
obscured by a double fringe of verdure, that only
a dim and shadowy light penetrated to the bot-
tom. We had had no food for many hours, and
were very weary with the stony and irregular
journey, but our nerves were too strung to allow
us to halt. We ordered the camp to be pitched,
however, and, leaving the Indians to arrange it,
we four, with the two half-breeds, proceeded up
the narrow gorge.
It was not more than forty feet across at the
mouth, but it rapidly closed until it ended in an
acute angle, too straight and smooth for an ascent.
Certainly it was not this which our pioneer had
attempted to indicate. We made our way back
the whole gorge was not more than a quarter
of a mile deep and then suddenly the quick
eyes of Lord John fell upon what we were seeking.
High up above our heads, amid the dark shadows,
there was one circle of deeper gloom. Surely it
could only be the opening of a cave.
The base of the cliff was heaped with loose
stones at the spot, and it was not difficult to
clamber up. When we reached it, all doubt was
removed. Not only was it an opening into the
rock, but on the side of it there was marked once
again the sign of the arrow. Here was the point,
132 The Lost World
and this the means by which Maple White and
his ill-fated comrade had made their ascent.
were too excited to return to the camp, but
must make our first exploration at once.
Lord John had an electric torch in his knapsack,
and this had to serve us as light. He advanced,
throwing his little clear circlet of yellow radiance
before him, while in single file we followed at his
The cave had evidently been water-worn, the
sides being smooth and the floor covered with
rounded stones. It was of such a size that a single
man could just fit through by stooping. For fifty
yards it ran almost straight into the rock, and then
it ascended at an angle of forty-five. Presently
this incline became even steeper, and we found
ourselves climbing upon hands and knees among
loose rubble which slid from beneath us. Sud-
denly an exclamation broke from Lord Roxton.
"It's blocked!" said he.
Clustering behind him we saw in the yellow
field of light a wall of broken basalt which
extended to the ceiling.
"The roof has fallen in!"
In vain we dragged out some of the pieces.
The only effect was that the larger ones became
detached and threatened to roll down the gradient
and crush us. It was evident that the obstacle
was far beyond any efforts which we could make
to remove it. The road by which Maple White
had ascended was no longer available.
IT'S BLOCKED M
Who Could have Foreseen it? 133
Too much cast down to speak, we stumbled
down the dark tunnel and made our way back
to the camp.
ONE incident occurred, however, before we
left the gorge, which is of importance in
view of what came afterwards.
We had gathered in a little group at the bottom
of the chasm, some forty feet beneath the mouth
of the cave, when a huge rock rolled suddenly
downwards and shot past us with tremendous
force. It was the narrowest escape for one or
all of us. We could not ourselves see whence the
rock had come, but our half-breed servants, who
were still at the opening of the cave, said that it
had flown past them, and must therefore have
fallen from the summit. Looking upwards, we
could see no sign of movement above us amidst
the green jungle which topped the cliff. There
could be little doubt, however, that the stone was
aimed at us, so the incident surely pointed to
humanity and malevolent humanity upon
We withdrew hurriedly from the chasm, our
minds full of this new development and its bearing
upon our plans. The situation was difficult
enough before, but if the obstructions of Nature
were increased by the deliberate opposition of
man, then our case was indeed a hopeless one.
And yet, as we looked up at that beautiful fringe
of verdure only a few hundreds of feet above our
heads, there was not one of us who could conceive
134 The Lost World
the idea of returning to London until we had
explored it to its depths.
On discussing the situation, we determined that
our best course was to continue to coast round
the plateau in the hope of finding some other
means of reaching the top. The line of cliffs,
which had decreased considerably in height, had
already begun to trend from west to north, and
if we could take this as representing the arc of a
circle, the whole circumference could not be very
great. At the worst, then, we should be back in
a few days at our starting-point.
We made a march that day which totaled some
two-and-twenty miles, without any change in
our prospects. I may mention that our aneroid
shows us that in the continual incline which we
have ascended since we abandoned our canoes we
have risen to no less than three thousand feet
above sea-level. Hence there is a considerable
change both in the temperature and in the vege-
tation. We have shaken off some of that horrible
insect life which is the bane of tropical travel.
A few palms still survive, and many tree-ferns,
but the Amazonian trees have been all left behind.
It was pleasant to see the convolvulus, the passion-
flower, and the begonia, all reminding me of
home, here among these inhospitable rocks. There
was a red begonia just the same color as one that
is kept in a pot in the window of a certain villa
in Streatham but I am drifting into private
Who Could have Foreseen it? 135
'"PHAT night I am still speaking of the first
day of our circumnavigation of the plateau
-a great experience awaited us, and one which
for ever set at rest any doubt which we could
have had as to the wonders so near us.
You will realize as you read it, my dear Mr.
McArdle, and possibly for the first time that the
paper has not sent me on a wild-goose chase, and
that there is inconceivably fine copy waiting for
the world whenever we have the Professor's leave
to make use of it. I shall not dare to publish
these articles unless I can bring back my proofs
to England, or I shall be hailed as the journalistic
Munchausen of all time. I have no doubt that
you feel the same way yourself, and that you
would not care to stake the whole credit of the
Gazette upon this adventure until we can meet the
chorus of criticism and scepticism which such
articles must of necessity elicit. So this wonder-
ful incident, which would make such a headline
for the old paper, must still wait its turn in the
And yet it was all over in a flash, and there was
no sequel to it, save in our own convictions.
What occurred was this. Lord John had shot
an ajouti which is a small, pig-like animal
and, half of it having been given to the Indians,
we were cooking the other half upon our fire.
There is a chill in the air after dark, and we had
all drawn close to the blaze. The night was
moonless, but there were some stars, and one could
see for a little distance across the plain. Well,
136 The Lost World
suddenly out of the darkness, out of the night,
there swooped something with a swish like an
aeroplane. The whole group of us were covered
for an instant by a canopy of leathery wings, and
I had a momentary vision of a long, snake-like
neck, a fierce, red, greedy eye, and a great snap-
ping beak, filled, to my amazement, with little,
gleaming teeth. The next instant it was gone
and so was our dinner. A huge black shadow,
twenty feet across, skimmed up into the air; for
an instant the monster wings blotted out the
stars, and then it vanished over the brow of the
cliff above us. We all sat in amazed silence round
the fire, like the heroes of Virgil when the Harpies
came down upon them. It was Summerlee who
was the first to speak.
" Professor Challenger," said he, in a solemn
voice, which quavered with emotion, "I owe you
an apology. Sir, I am very much in the wrong,
and I beg that you will forget what is past."
It was handsomely said, and the two men for
the first time shook hands. So much we have
gained by this clear vision of our first pterodactyl.
It was worth a stolen supper to bring two such
T2UT if prehistoric life existed upon the plateau
it was not superabundant, for we had no
further glimpse of it during the next three days.
During this time we traversed a barren and for-
bidding country, which alternated between stony
desert and desolate marshes full of many wild-
Who Could have Foreseen it? 137
fowl, upon the north and east of the cliffs. From
that direction the place is really inaccessible, and,
were it not for a hardish ledge which runs at the
very base of the precipice, we should have had to
turn back. Many times we were up to our waists
in the slime and blubber of an old, semi-tropical
swamp. To make matters worse, the place seemed
to be a favorite breeding-place of the Jaracaca
snake, the most venomous and aggressive in South
America. Again and again these horrible crea-
tures came writhing and springing towards us
across the surface of this putrid bog, and it was
only by keeping our shot-guns for ever ready that
we could feel safe from them. One funnel-shaped
depression in the morass, of a livid green in color
from some lichen which festered in it, will always
remain as a nightmare memory in my mind. It
seems to have been a special nest of these vermins,
and the slopes were alive with them, all writhing
in our direction, for it is a peculiarity of the
Jaracaca that he will always attack man at first
sight. There were too many for us to shoot, so
we fairly took to our heels and ran until we were
exhausted. I shall always remember as we looked
back how far behind we could see the heads and
necks of our horrible pursuers rising and falling
amid the reeds. Jaracaca Swamp we named it in
the map which we are constructing.
The cliffs upon the farther side had lost their
ruddy tint, being chocolate-brown in color; the
vegetation was more scattered along the top of
them, and they had sunk to three or four hundred
138 The Lost World
feet in height, but in no plax:e did we find any
point where they could be ascended. If anything,
they were more impossible than at the first point
where we had met them. Their absolute steep-
ness is indicated in the photograph which I took
over the stony desert.
"Surely," said I, as we discussed the situation,
"the rain must find its way down somehow. There
are bound to be water-channels in the rocks."
"Our young friend has glimpses of lucidity," said
Professor Challenger, patting me upon the shoul-
: 'The rain must go somewhere," I repeated.
"He keeps a firm grip upon actuality. The
only drawback is that we have conclusively proved
by ocular demonstration that there are no water
channels down the rocks."
"Where, then, does it go?" I persisted.
"I think it may be fairly assumed that if it
does not come outwards it must run inwards."
"Then there is a lake in the center."
"So I should suppose."
"It is more than likely that the lake may be an
old crater," said Summerlee. "The whole forma-
tion is, of course, highly volcanic. But, however
that may be, I should expect to find the surface
of the plateau slope inwards with a considerable
sheet of water in the center, which may drain off,
by some subterranean channel, into the marshes
of the Jaracaca Swamp."
"Or evaporation might preserve an equilib-
rium," remarked Challenger, and the two learned
Who Could have Foreseen it? 139
men wandered off into one of their usual scientific
arguments, which were as comprehensible as
Chinese to the layman.
the sixth day we completed our first circuit
of the cliffs, and found ourselves back at
the first camp, beside the isolated pinnacle of
rock. We were a disconsolate party, for nothing
could have been more minute than our investi-
gation, and it was absolutely certain that there
was no single point where the most active human
being could possibly hope to scale the cliff. The
place which Maple White's chalk-marks had
indicated as his own means of access was now
What were we to do now? Our stores of pro-
visions, supplemented by our guns, were holding
out well, but the day must come when they would
need replenishment. In a couple of months the
rains might be expected, and we should be washed
out of our camp. The rock was harder than
marble, and any attempt at cutting a path for so
great a height was more than our time or resources
would admit. No wonder that we looked gloom-
ily at each other that night, and sought our blank-
ets with hardly a word exchanged. I remember
that as I dropped off to sleep my last recollection
was that Challenger was squatting, like a mon-
strous bull-frog, by the fire, his huge head in his
hands, sunk apparently in the deepest thought,
and entirely oblivious to the good-night which I
140 The Lost World
But it was a very different Challenger who
greeted us in the morning a Challenger with
contentment and self-congratulation shining from
his whole person. He faced us as we assembled
for breakfast with a deprecating false modesty in
his eyes, as who should say, " I know that I deserve
all that you can say, but I pray you to spare my
blushes by not saying it." His beard bristled
exultantly, his chest was thrown out, and his hand
was thrust into the front of his jacket. So, in
his fancy, may he see himself sometimes, gracing
the vacant pedestal in Trafalgar Square, and
adding one more to the horrors of the London
"Eureka!" he cried, his teeth shining through
his beard. "Gentlemen, you may congratulate
me and we may congratulate each other* The
problem is solved."
"You have found a way up?"
"I venture to think so."
For answer he pointed to the spire-like pinnacle
upon our right.
Our faces or mine, at least fell as we sur-
veyed it. That it could be climbed we had our
companion's assurance. But a horrible abyss lay
between it and the plateau.
"We can never get across," I gasped.
"We can at least all reach the summit," said he.
"When we are up I may be able to show you that
the resources of an inventive mind are not yet
Who Could have Foreseen it? 141
A FTER breakfast we unpacked the bundle in
which our leader had brought his climbing
accessories. From it he took a coil of the strong-
est and lightest rope, a hundred and fifty feet in
length, with climbing irons, clamps, and other
devices. Lord John was an experienced moun-
taineer, and Summerlee had done some rough
climbing at various times, so that I was really
the novice at rock-work of the party; but my
strength and activity may have made up for my
want of experience.
It was not in reality a very stiff task, though
there were moments which made my hair bristle
upon my head. The first half was perfectly easy,
but from there upwards it became continually
steeper until, for the last fifty feet, we were
literally clinging with our fingers and toes to tiny
ledges and crevices in the rock. I could not have
accomplished it, nor could Summerlee, if Chal-
lenger had not gained the summit (it was extra-
ordinary to see such activity in so unwieldy a
creature) and there fixed the rope round the trunk
of the considerable tree which grew there. With
this as our support, we were soon able to scramble
up the jagged wall until we found ourselves
upon the small grassy platform, some twenty-five
feet each way, which formed the summit.
The first impression which I received when I
had recovered my breath was of the extraordinary
view over the country which we had traversed.
The whole Brazilian plain seemed to lie beneath
us, extending away and away until it ended in
142 The Lost World
dim blue mists upon the farthest sky-line. In
the foreground was the long slope, strewn with
rocks and dotted with tree-ferns; farther off in
the middle distance, looking over the saddle-
back hill, I could just see the yellow and green
mass of bamboos through which we had passed;
and then, gradually, the vegetation increased
until it formed the huge forest which extended as
far as the eyes could reach, and for a good two
thousand miles beyond.
I was still drinking in this wonderful panorama
when the heavy hand of the Professor fell upon
"This way, my young friend," said he; "vestigia
nulla retrorsum. Never look rearwards, but
always to our glorious goal."
The level of the plateau, when I turned, was
exactly that on which we stood, and the green
bank of bushes, with occasional trees, was so near
that it was difficult to realize how inaccessible it
remained. At a rough guess the gulf was forty
feet across, but, so far as I could see, it might as
well have been forty miles. I placed one arm
round the trunk of the tree and leaned over the
abyss. Far down were the small dark figures of
our servants, looking up at us. The wall was
absolutely precipitous, as was that which faced
"TPHIS is indeed curious," said the creaking
voice of Professor Summerlee.
I turned, and found that he was examining with
Who Could have Foreseen it? 143
great interest the tree to which I clung. That
smooth bark and those small, ribbed leaves seemed
familiar to my eyes. "Why," I cried, "it's a
"Exactly," said Summerlee. "A fellow-coun-
tryman in a far land."
"Not only a fellow-countryman, my good sir,"
said Challenger, "but also, if I may be allowed to
enlarge your simile, an ally of the first value.
This beech tree will be our saviour."
"By George!" cried Lord John, "a bridge!"
"Exactly, my friends, a bridge! It is not for
nothing that I expended an hour last night in
focusing my mind upon the situation. I have
some recollection of once remarking to our young
friend here that G. E. C. is at his best when his
back is to the wall. Last night you will admit
that all our backs were to the wall. But where
will-power and intellect go together, there is
always a way out. A drawbridge had to be found
which could be dropped across the abyss. Behold
It was certainly a brilliant idea. The tree was
a good sixty feet in height, and if it only fell the
right way it would easily cross the chasm. Chal-
lenger had slung the camp axe over his shoulder
when he ascended. Now he handed it to me.
"Our young friend has the thews and sinews,"
said he. "I think he will be the most useful at
this task. I must beg, however, that you will
kindly refrain from thinking for yourself, and
that you will do exactly what you are told."
144 The Lost World
Under his direction I cut such gashes in the
sides of the trees as would ensure that it should
fall as we desired. It had already a strong,
natural tilt in the direction of the plateau, so that
the matter was not difficult. Finally I set to
work in earnest upon the trunk, taking turn and
turn with Lord John. In a little over an hour
there was a loud crack, the tree swayed forward,
and then crashed over, burying its branches among
the bushes on the farther side. The severed trunk
rolled to the very edge of our platform, and for
one terrible second we all thought it was over.
It balanced itself, however, a few inches from the
edge, and there was our bridge to the unknown.
All of us, without a word, shook hands with
Professor Challenger, who raised his straw hat
and bowed deeply to each in turn.
"I claim the honor," said he, "to be the first
to cross to the unknown land a fitting subject,
no doubt, for some future historical painting/'
had approached the bridge when Lord John
laid his hand upon his coat.
"My dear chap/' said he, "I really cannot
"Cannot allow it, sir!" The head went back
and the beard forward.
"When it is a matter of science, don't you know,
I follow your lead because you are by way of
bein' a man of science. But it's up to you to
follow me when you come into my department."
"Your department, sir?"
Who Could have Foreseen it? 145
"We all have our professions, and soldierin' is
mine. We are, accordin' to my ideas, invadin' a
new country, which may or may not be chock-
full of enemies of sorts. To barge blindly into it
for want of a little common sense and patience
isn't my notion of management."
The remonstrance was too reasonable to be
disregarded. Challenger tossed his head and
shrugged his heavy shoulders.
"Well, sir, what do you propose?"
"For all I know there may be a tribe of canni-
bals waitin' for lunch-time among those very
bushes," said Lord John, looking across the bridge.
"It's better to learn wisdom before you get into a
cookin'-pot; so we will content ourselves with
hopin* that there is no trouble waitin' for us, and
at the same time we will act as if there were.
Malone and I will go down again, therefore, and
we will fetch up the four rifles, together with Gomez
and the other. One man can then go across and
the rest will cover him with guns, until he sees
that it is safe for the whole crowd to come along."
Challenger sat down upon the cut stump and
groaned his impatience; but Summerlee and I
were of one mind that Lord John was our leader
when such practical details were in question. The
climb was a more simple thing now that the rope
dangled down the face of the worst part of the
ascent. Within an hour we had brought up the
rifles and a shot-gun. The half-breeds had as-
cended also, and under Lord John's orders they
had carried up a bale of provisions in case our
146 The Lost World
first exploration should be a long one. We had
each bandoliers of cartridges.
"Now, Challenger, if you really insist upon
being the first man in/' said Lord John, when
every preparation was complete.
"I am much indebted to you for your gracious
permission," said the angry Professor; for never
was a man so intolerant of every form of authority.
"Since you are good enough to allow it, I shall
most certainly take it upon myself to act as
pioneer upon this occasion."
EATING himself with a leg overhanging the
abyss on each side, and his hatchet slung
upon his back, Challenger hopped his way across
the trunk and was soon at the other side. He
clambered up and waved his arms in the air.
"At last!" he cried; "at last!"
I gazed anxiously at him, with a vague ex-
pectation that some terrible fate would dart at
him from the curtain of green behind him. But
all was quiet, save that a strange, many-colored
bird flew up from under his feet and vanished
among the trees.
Summerlee was the second. His wiry energy
is wonderful in so frail a frame. He insisted upon
having two rifles slung upon his back, so that both
Professors were armed when he had made his
transit. I came next, and tried hard not to look
down into the horrible gulf over which I was
passing. Summerlee held out the butt-end of
his rifle, and an instant later I was able to grasp
Who Could have Foreseen it? 147
his hand. As to Lord John, he walked across
actually walked without support! He must have
nerves of iron.
And there we were, the four of us, upon the
dreamland, the lost world, of Maple White. To
all of us it seemed the moment of our supreme
triumph. Who could have guessed that it was
the prelude to our supreme disaster ? Let me say
in a few words how the crushing blow fell upon
had turned away from the edge, and had
penetrated about fifty yards of close brush-
wood, when there came a frightful rending crash
from behind us. With one impulse we rushed
back the way that we had come. The bridge was
Far down at the base of the cliff I saw, as I
looked over, a tangled mass of branches and splin-
tered trunk. It was our beech tree. Had the
edge of the platform crumbled and let it through ?
For a moment this explanation was in all our
minds. The next, from the farther side of the
rocky pinnacle before us a swarthy face, the face
of Gomez the half-breed, was slowly protruded.
Yes, it was Gomez, but no longer the Gomez of
the demure smile and the mask-like expression.
Here was a face with flashing eyes and distorted
features, a face convulsed with hatred and with
the mad joy of gratified revenge.
"Lord Roxton!" he shouted. "Lord John
148 The Lost World
"Well," said our companion, "here I am."
A shriek of laughter came across the abyss.
"Yes, there you are, you English dog, and there
you will remain! I have waited and waited, and
now has come my chance. You found it hard to
get up ; you will find it harder to get down. You
cursed fools, you are trapped, every one of you!"
We were too astounded to speak. We could
only stand there staring in amazement. A great
broken bough upon the grass showed whence he
had gained his leverage to tilt over our bridge.
The face had vanished, but presently it was up
again, more frantic than before.
"We nearly killed you with a stone at the cave,"
he cried; "but this is better. It is slower and
more terrible. Your bones will whiten up there,
and none will know where you lie or come to cover
them. As you lie dying, think of Lopez, whom
you shot five years ago on the Putomayo River.
I am his brother, and, come what will Lwill die
happy now, for his memory has been avenged."
A furious hand was shaken at us, and then all
Had the half-breed simply wrought his ven-
geance and then escaped, all might have been well
with him. It was that foolish, irresistible Latin
impulse to be dramatic which brought his own
downfall. Roxton, the man who had earned him-
self the name of the Flail of the Lord through
three countries, was not one who could be safely
taunted. The half-breed was descending on the
farther side of the pinnacle; but before he could
WE COULD ONLY STAND THERE
STARING IN AMAZEMENT
Who Could have Foreseen it? 149
reach the ground Lord John had run along the
edge of the plateau and gained a point from which
he could see his man. There was a single crack
of his rifle, and, though we saw nothing, we heard
the scream and then the distant thud of the
falling body. Roxton came back to us with a
face of granite.
"I have been a blind simpleton," said he, bit-
terly. "It's my folly that has brought you all
into this trouble. I should have remembered
that these people have long memories for blood-
feuds, and have been more upon my guard. "
"What about the other one? It took two of
them to lever that tree over the edge."
"I could have shot him, but I let him go. He
may have had no part in it. Perhaps it would
have been better if I had killed him, for he must,
as you say, have lent a hand."
Now that we had the clue to his action, each of
us could cast back and remember some sinister
act upon the part of the half-breed his constant
desire to know our plans, his arrest outside our
tent when he was over-hearing them, the furtive
looks of hatred which from time to time one or
other of us had surprised. We were still discuss-
ing it, endeavoring to adjust our minds to these
new conditions, when a singular scene in the plain
below arrested our attention.
A man in white clothes, who could only be the
surviving half-breed, was running as one does run
when Death is the pacemaker. Behind him, only
a few yards in his rear, bounded the huge ebony
150 The Lost World
figure of Zambo, our devoted negro. Even as we
looked, he sprang upon the back of the fugitive
and flung his arms round his neck. They rolled
on the ground together. An instant afterwards
Zambo rose, looked at the prostrate man, and
then, waving his hand joyously to us, came running
in our direction. The white figure lay motionless
in the middle of the great plain.
R two traitors had been destroyed, but the
mischief that they had done lived after them.
By no possible means could we get back to the
pinnacle. We had been natives of the world;
now we were natives of the plateau. The two
things were separate an,d apart. There was the
plain which led to the canoes. Yonder, beyond
the violet, hazy horizon, was the stream which led
back to civilization. But the link between was
missing. No human ingenuity could suggest a
means of bridging the chasm which yawned be-
tween ourselves and our past lives. One instant
had altered the whole conditions of our existence.
It was at such a moment that I learned the stuff
of which my three comrades were composed. They
were grave, it is true, and thoughtful, but of an
invincible serenity. For the moment we could
only sit among the bushes in patience and wait the
coming of Zambo. Presently his honest black
face topped the rocks and his Herculean figure
emerged upon the top of the pinnacle.
"What I do now?" he cried. " You tell me and
I do it."
Who Could have Foreseen it? 151
It was a question which it was easier to ask than
to answer. One thing only was clear. He was
our one trusty link with the outside world. On
no account must he leave us.
"No, no!" he cried. "I not leave you. What-
ever come, you always find me here. But no able
to keep Indians. Already they say too much
Curupuri live on this place, and they go home.
Now you leave them me no able to keep them."
It was a fact that our Indians had shown in
many ways of late that they were weary of their
journey and anxious to return. We realized that
Zambo spoke the truth, and that it would be
impossible for him to keep them.
"Make them wait till to-morrow, Zambo," I
shouted; "then I can send letter back by them."
"Very good, sarr! I promise they wait till to-
morrow," said the negro. " But what I do for you
There was plenty for him to do, and admirably
the faithful fellow did it. First of all, under our
directions, he undid the rope from the tree-stump
and threw one end of it across to us. It was not
thicker than a clothes-line, but it was of great
strength, and though we could not make a bridge
of it, we might well find it invaluable if we had
any climbing to do. He then fastened his end
of the rope to the package of supplies which had
been carried up, and we were able to drag it
across. This gave us the means of life for at
least a week, even if we found nothing else. Finally
he descended and carried up two other packets of
152 The Lost World
mixed goods a box of ammunition and a number
of other things, all of which we got across by
throwing our rope to him and hauling it back.
It was evening when he at last climbed down, with
a final assurance that he would keep the Indians
till next morning.
A ND so it is that I have spent nearly the whole
of this our first night upon the plateau writing
up our experiences by the light of a single candle-
We supped and camped at the very edge of the
cliff, quenching our thirst with two bottles of Apol-
linaris which were in one of the cases. It is vital
to us to find water, but I think even Lord John
himself had had adventures enough for one day,
and none of us felt inclined to make the first push
into the unknown. We forbore to light a fire or
to make any unnecessary sound.
To-morrow (or to-day, rather, for it is already
dawn as I write) we shall make our first venture
into this strange land. When I shall be able to
write again or if I ever shall write again--!
know not. Meanwhile, I can see that the Indians
are still in their place, and I am sure that the faith-
ful Zambo will be here presently to get my letter.
I only trust that it will come to hand.
P.S. The more I think the more desperate
does our position seem. I see no possible hope
of our return. If there were a high tree near the
edge of the plateau we might drop a return bridge
Who Could have Foreseen it? 153
across, but there is none within fifty yards. Our
united strength could not carry a trunk which
would serve our purpose. The rope, of course, is
far too short that we could descend by it. No, our
position is hopeless hopeless!
" The most Wonderful Things have Happened"
THE most wonderful things have happened
and are continually happening to us.
All the paper that I possess consists of
five old note-books and a lot of scraps, and I have
only the one stylographic pencil; but so long as I
can move my hand I will continue to set down our
experiences and impressions, for, since we are the
only men of the whole human race to see such
things, it is of enormous importance that I should
record them whilst they are fresh in my memory
and before that fate which seems to be constantly
impending does actually overtake us. Whether
Zambo can at last take these letters to the river,
or whether I shall myself in some miraculous way
carry them back with me, or, finally, whether
some daring explorer, coming upon our tracks
with the advantage, perhaps, of a perfected mono-
plane, should find this bundle of manuscript, in any
case I can see that what I am writing is destined
to immortality as a classic of true adventure.
the morning after our being trapped upon
the plateau by the villainous Gomez we began
a new stage in our experiences. The first incident
Wonderful Things Happened 155
in it was not such as to give me a very favorable
opinion of the place to which we had wandered.
As I roused myself from a short nap after day
had dawned, my eyes fell upon a most singular
appearance upon my own leg. My trouser had
slipped up, exposing a few inches of my skin above
my sock. On this there rested a large, purplish
grape. Astonished at the sight, I leaned forward
to pick it off, when, to my horror, it burst between
my finger and thumb, squirting blood in every
direction. My cry of disgust had brought the
two professors to my side.
"Most interesting," said Summerlee, bending
over my shin. "An enormous blood-tick, as yet,
I believe, unclassified."
"The first-fruits of our labors," said Challenger
in his booming, pedantic fashion. "We cannot
do less than call it Ixodes Maloni. The very small
inconvenience of being bitten, my young friend,
cannot, I am sure, weigh with you as against the
glorious privilege of having your name inscribed
in the deathless roll of zoology. Unhappily you
have crushed this fine specimen at the moment of
"Filthy vermin!" I cried.
Professor Challenger raised his great eyebrows
in protest, and placed a soothing paw upon my
"You should cultivate the scientific eye and
the detached scientific mind," said he. "To a
man of philosophic temperament like myself the
blood-tick, with its lancet-like proboscis and its
156 The Lost World
distending stomach, is as beautiful a work of
Nature as the peacock or, for that matter, the
aurora borealis. It pains me to hear you speak
of it in so unappreciative a fashion. No doubt,
with due diligence, we can secure some other
" There can be no doubt of that," said Sum-
merlee, grimly, "for one has just disappeared
behind your shirt-collar."
Challenger sprang into the air bellowing like a
bull, and tore frantically at his coat and shirt to
get them off. Summerlee and I laughed so that
we could hardly help him. At last we exposed
that monstrous torso (fifty-four inches, by the
tailor's tape). His body was all matted with
black hair, out of which jungle we picked the
wandering tick before it had bitten him. But
the bushes round were full of the horrible pests,
and it was clear that we must shift our camp.
BUT first of all it was necessary to make our
arrangements with the faithful negro, who ap-
peared presently on the pinnacle with a number
of tins of cocoa and biscuits, which he tossed over
to us. Of the stores which remained below he was
ordered to retain as much as would keep him
for two months. The Indians were to have the
remainder as a reward for their services and as
payment for taking our letters back to the Ama-
zon. Some hours later we saw them in single
file far out upon the plain, each with a bundle on
his head, making their way back along the path
Wonderful Things Happened 157
we had come. Zambo occupied our little tent at
the base of the pinnacle, and there he remained,
our one link with the world below.
And now we had to decide upon our immediate
movements. We shifted our position from among
the tick-laden bushes until we came to a small
clearing thickly surrounded by trees upon all sides.
There were some flat slabs of rock in the center,
with an excellent well close by, and there we sat
in cleanly comfort while we made our first plans
for the invasion of this new country. Birds were
calling among the foliage especially one with a
peculiar whooping cry which was new to us but
beyond these sounds there were no signs of life.
Our first care was to make some sort of list of
our own stores, so that we might know what we
had to rely upon. What with the things we had
ourselves brought up and those which Zambo had
sent across on the rope, we were fairly well sup-
plied. Most important of all, in view of the
dangers which might surround us, we had our
four rifles and one thousand three hundred rounds,
also a shot-gun, but not more than a hundred and
fifty medium pellet cartridges. In the matter of
provisions we had enough to last for several weeks,
with a sufficiency of tobacco and a few scientific
implements, including a large telescope and a good
field-glass. All these things we collected together
in the clearing, and as a first precaution, we cut
down with our hatchet and knives a number of
thorny bushes, which we piled round in a circle
some fifteen yards in diameter. This was to be
158 The Lost World
our headquarters for the time our place of refuge
against sudden danger and the guard-house for
our stores. Fort Challenger, we called it.
TT was midday before we had made ourselves
secure, but the heat was not oppressive, and
the general character of the plateau, both in its
temperature and in its vegetation, was almost
temperate. The beech, the oak, and even the
birch were to be found among the tangle of trees
which girt us in. One huge gingko tree, topping
all the others, shot its great limbs and maidenhair
foliage over the fort which we had constructed.
In its shade we continued our discussion, while
Lord John, who had quickly taken command in
the hour of action, gave us his views.
"So long as neither man nor beast has seen or
heard us, we are safe," said he. " From the time
they know we are here our troubles begin. There
are no signs that they have found us out as yet.
So our game surely is to lie low for a time and spy
out the land. We want to have a good look at
our neighbors before we get on visitin' terms/'
" But we must advance," I ventured to remark.
"By all means, sonny my boy! We will ad-
vance. But with common sense. We must never
go so far that we can't get back to our base. Above
all, we must never, unless it is life or death, fire
off our guns."
"But you fired yesterday," said Summerlee.
"Well, it couldn't be helped. However, the
wind was strong and blew outwards. It is not
Wonderful Things Happened 159
likely that the sound could have traveled far into
the plateau. By the way, what shall we call this
place ? I suppose it is up to us to give it a name ?"
,There were several suggestions, more or less
happy, but Challenger's was final.
"It can only have one name," said he. "It
is called after the pioneer who discovered it. It
is Maple White Land."
Maple White Land it became, and so it is named
in that chart which has become my special task.
So it will, I trust, appear in the atlas of the future.
The peaceful penetration of Maple White Land
was the pressing subject before us. We had the
evidence of our own eyes that the place was in-
habited by some unknown creatures, and there
was that of Maple White's sketch-book to show
that more dreadful and more dangerous monsters
might still appear. That there might also prove
to be human occupants and that they were of a
malevolent character was suggested by the skele-
ton impaled upon the bamboos, which could not
have got there had it not been dropped from above.
Our situation, stranded without possibility of
escape in such a land, was clearly full of danger,
and our reasons endorsed every measure of caution
which Lord John's experience could suggest. Yet
it was surely impossible that we should halt on the
edge of this world of mystery when our very souls
were tingling with impatience to push forward
and to pluck the heart from it.
We therefore blocked the entrance to our zareba
by filling it up with several thorny bushes, and left
160 The Lost World
our camp with the stores entirely surrounded
by this protecting hedge. We then slowly and
cautiously set forth into the unknown, following
the course of the little stream which flowed from
our spring, as it should always serve us as a guide
on our return.
J-TARDLY had we started when we came across
signs that there were indeed wonders awaiting
us. After a few hundred yards of thick forest, con-
taining many trees which were quite unknown to
me, but which Summerlee, who was the botanist
of the party, recognized as forms of conifera and of
cycadaceous plants which have long passed away
in the world below, we entered a region where the
stream widened out and formed a considerable
bog. High reeds of a peculiar type grew thickly
before us, which were pronounced to be equise-
tacea, or mare's-tails, with tree-ferns scattered
amongst them, all of them swaying in a brisk
wind. Suddenly Lord John, who was walking
first, halted with uplifted hand.
"Look at this!" said he. "By George, this
must be the trail of the father of all birds!"
An enormous three-toed track was imprinted in
the soft mud before us. The creature, whatever
it was, had crossed the swamp and had passed on
into the forest. We all stopped to examine that
monstrous spoor. If it were indeed a bird and
what animal could leave such a mark ? - - its foot
was so much larger than an ostrich's that its height
upon the same scale must be enormous. Lord
Wonderful Things Happened 161
John looked eagerly round him and slipped two
cartridges into his elephant-gun.
"I'll stake my good name as a shikarree," said
he, "that the track is a fresh one. The creature
has not passed ten minutes. Look how the water
is still oozing into that deeper print! By Jove!
See, here is the mark of a little one!"
Sure enough, smaller tracks of the same general
form were running parallel to the large ones.
"But what do you make of this?" cried Pro-
fessor Summerlee, triumphantly, pointing to what
looked like the huge print of a five-fingered human
hand appearing among the three-toed marks.
"Wealden!" cried Challenger, in an ecstasy.
"I've seen them in the Wealden clay. It is a
creature walking erect upon three-toed feet, and
occasionally putting one of its five-fingered fore-
paws upon the ground. Not a bird, my dear
Roxton not a bird."
"No; a reptile a dinosaur. Nothing else
could have left such a track. They puzzled a
worthy Sussex doctor some ninety years ago; but
who in the world could have hoped hoped to
have seen a sight like that?"
'JIS words died away into a whisper, and we all
stood in motionless amazement. Following
the tracks, we had left the morass and passed
through a screen of brushwood and trees. Beyond
was an open glade, and in this were five of the
most extraordinary creatures that I have ever
162 The Lost World
seen. Crouching down among the bushes, we
observed them at our leisure.
There were, as I say, five of them, two being
adults and three young ones. In size they were
enormous. Even the babies were as big as ele-
phants, while the two large ones were far beyond
all creatures I have ever seen. They had slate-
colored skin, which was scaled like a lizard's and
shimmered where the sun shone upon it. All five
were sitting up, balancing themselves upon their
broad, powerful tails and their huge three-toed
hind-feet, while with their small five-fingered front-
feet they pulled down the branches upon which
they browsed. I do not know that I can bring their
appearance home to you better than by saying
that they looked like monstrous kangaroos, twenty
feet in length, and with skins like black crocodiles.
I do not know how long we stayed motionless
gazing at this marvelous spectacle. A strong
wind blew towards us and we were well concealed,
so there was no chance of discovery. From time
to time the little ones played round their parents
in unwieldy gambols, the great beasts bounding
into the air and falling with dull thuds upon the
earth. The strength of the parents seemed to be
limitless, for one of them, having some difficulty
in reaching a bunch of foliage which grew upon
a considerable-sized tree, put his fore-legs round
the trunk and tore it down as if it had been a sap-
ling. The action seemed, as I thought, to show
not only the great development of its muscles,
but also the small one of its brain, for the whole
Wonderful Things Happened 163
weight came crashing down upon the top of it, and
it uttered a series of shrill yelps to show that, big
as it was, there was a limit to what it could endure.
The incident made it think, apparently, that the
neighborhood was dangerous, for it slowly lurched
off through the wood, followed by its mate and its
three enormous infants. We saw the shimmering
slaty gleam of their skins between the tree-trunks,
and their heads undulating high above the brush-
wood. Then they vanished from our sight.
I looked at my comrades. Lord John was
standing at gaze with his finger on the trigger of
his elephant-gun, his eager hunter's soul shining
from his fierce eyes. What would he not give for
one such head to place between the two crossed
oars above the mantelpiece in his snuggery at the
Albany! And yet his reason held him in, for all
our exploration of the wonders of this unknown
land depended upon our presence being concealed
from its inhabitants. The two professors were in
silent ecstasy. In their excitement they had un-
consciously seized each other by the hand, and
stood like two little children in the presence of a
marvel, Challenger's cheeks bunched up into a
seraphic smile, and Summerlee's sardonic face
softening for the moment into wonder and rever-
"Nunc dimittis!" he cried at last. "What
will they say in England of this?"
"My dear Summerlee, I will tell you with great
confidence exactly what they will say in England,"
said Challenger. "They will say that you are an
164 The Lost World
infernal liar and a scientific charlatan, exactly
as you and others said of me."
"In the face of photographs?"
" Faked, Summerlee ! Clumsily faked ! "
"In the face of specimens?"
"Ah, there we may have them! Malone and
his filthy Fleet Street crew may be all yelping our
praises yet. August the twenty-eighth the day
we saw five live iguanodons in a glade of Maple
White Land. Put it down in your diary, my young
friend, and send it to your rag."
"And be ready to get the toe-end of the editorial
boot in return," said Lord John. "Things look
a bit different from the latitude of London, young
fellah my lad. There's many a man who never
tells his adventures, for he can't hope to be be-
lieved. Who's to blame them? For this will
seem a bit of a dream to ourselves in a month or
two. What did you say they were?"
"Iguanodons," said Summerlee. " You'll find
their footmarks all over the Hastings sands, in
Kent, and in Sussex. The South of England was
alive with them when there was plenty of good
lush green-stuff to keep them going. Conditions
have changed, and the beasts died. Here it seems
that the conditions have not changed, and the
beasts have lived."
"If ever we get out of this alive, I must have
a head with me," said Lord John. "Lord,
how some of that Somaliland-Uganda crowd
would turn a beautiful pea-green if they saw it!
I don't know what you chaps think, but it
Wonderful Things Happened 165
strikes me that we are on mighty thin ice all
T HAD the same feeling of mystery and danger
around us. In the gloom of the trees there
seemed a constant menace and as we looked up
into their shadowy foliage vague terrors crept into
one's heart. It is true that these monstrous
creatures which we had seen were lumbering, in-
offensive brutes which were unlikely to hurt any-
one, but in this world of wonders what other sur-
vivals might there not be what fierce, active
horrors ready to pounce upon us from their lair
among the rocks or brushwood? I knew little of
prehistoric life, but I had a clear remembrance of
one book which I had read in which it spoke of
creatures who would live upon our lions and tigers
as a cat lives upon mice. What if these also were
to be found in the woods of Maple White Land !
It was destined that on this very morning
our first in the new country we were to find out
what strange hazards lay around us. It was a
loathsome adventure, and one of which I hate to
think. If, as Lord John said, the glade of the
iguanodons will remain with us as a dream, then
surely the swamp of the pterodactyls will forever
be our nightmare. Let me set down exactly what
We passed very slowly through the woods, partly
because Lord Roxton acted as scout before he
would let us advance, and partly because at every
second step one or other of our professors would
166 The Lost World
fall, with a cry of wonder, before some flower o
insect which presented him with a new type. We
may have traveled two or three miles in all, keep-
ing to the right of the line of the stream, when
we came upon a considerable opening in the trees.
A belt of brushwood led up to a tangle of rocks
the whole plateau was strewn with boulders. We
were walking slowly towards these rocks, among
bushes which reached over our waists, when we
became aware of a strange low gabbling and whist-
ling sound, which filled the air with a constant
clamor and appeared to come from some spot
immediately before us. Lord John held up his
hand as a signal for us to stop, and he made his way
swiftly, stooping and running, to the line of rocks.
We saw him peep over them and give a gesture
of amazement. Then he stood staring as if for-
getting us, so utterly entranced was he by what
he saw. Finally he waved us to come on, holding
up his hand as a signal for caution. His whole
bearing made me feel that something wonderful
but dangerous lay before us.
(CREEPING to his side, we looked over the
rocks. The place into which we gazed was
a pit, and may, in the early days, have been one
of the smaller volcanic blow-holes of the plateau.
It was bowl-shaped and at the bottom, some hun-
dreds of yards from where we lay, were pools of
green-scummed, stagnant water, fringed with bull-
rushes. It was a weird place in itself, but its
occupants made it seem like a scene from the Seven
Wonderful Things Happened 167
Circles of Dante. The place was a rookery of
pterodactyls. There were hundreds of them con-
gregated within view. All the bottom area round
the water-edge was alive with their young ones,
and with hideous mothers brooding upon their
leathery, yellowish eggs. From this crawling
flapping mass of obscene reptilian life came the
shocking clamor which filled the air and the mephi-
tic, horrible, musty odor which turned us sick.
But above, perched each upon its own stone, tall,
gray, and withered, more like dead and dried
specimens than actual living creatures, sat the
horrible males, absolutely motionless save for the
rolling of their red eyes or an occasional snap of
their rat-trap beaks as a dragon-fly went past
them. Their huge, membranous wings were closed
by folding their fore-arms, so that they sat like
gigantic old women, wrapped in hideous web-
colored shawls, and with their ferocious heads pro-
truding above them. Large and small, not less
than a thousand of these filthy creatures lay in
the hollow before us.
Our professors would gladly have stayed there
all day, so entranced were they by this opportunity
of studying the life of a prehistoric age. They
pointed out the fish and dead birds lying about
among the rocks as proving the nature of the food
of these creatures, and I heard them congratulat-
ing each other on having cleared up the point
why the bones of this flying dragon are found in
such great numbers in certain well-defined areas,
as in the Cambridge Green-sand, since it was now
168 The Lost World
seen that, like penguins, they lived in gregarious
Finally, however, Challenger, bent upon prov-
ing some point which Summerlee had contested,
thrust his head over the rock and nearly brought
destruction upon us all. In an instant the nearest
male gave a shrill, whistling cry, and flapped its
twenty-foot span of leathery wings as it soared
up into the air. The females and young ones
huddled together beside the water, while the whole
circle of sentinels rose one after the other and
sailed off into the sky. It was a wonderful sight
to see at least a hundred creatures of such enor-
mous size and hideous appearance all swooping
like swallows with swift, shearing wing-strokes
above us ; but soon we realized that it was not one
on which we could afford to linger. At first the
great brutes flew round in a huge ring, as if to
make sure what the exact extent of the danger
might be. Then, the flight grew lower and the
circle narrower, until they were whizzing round
and round us, the dry, rustling flap of their huge
slate-colored wings filling the air with a volume of
sound that made me think of Hendon aerodrome
upon a race day.
"Make for the wood and keep together," cried
Lord John, clubbing his rifle. "The brutes mean
The moment we attempted to retreat the circle
closed in upon us, until the tips of the wings of
those nearest to us nearly touched our faces. We
beat at them with the stocks of our guns, but there
Wonderful Things Happened 169
was nothing solid or vulnerable to strike. Then
suddenly out of the whizzing, slate-colored circle
a long neck shot out, and a fierce beak made a
thrust at us. Another and another followed.
Summerlee gave a cry and put his hand to his
face, from which the blood was streaming. I felt
a prod at the back of my neck, and turned dizzy
with the shock. Challenger fell, and as I stooped
to pick him up I was again struck from behind
and dropped on the top of him. At the same
instant I heard the crash of Lord John's elephant-
gun, and, looking up, saw one of the creatures
with a broken wing struggling upon the ground,
spitting and gurgling at us with a wide-opened
beak and blood-shot, goggled eyes, like some
devil in a medieval picture. Its comrades had
flown higher at the sudden sound, and were cir-
cling above our heads.
"Now," cried Lord John, "now for our
We staggered through the brushwood, and even
as we reached the trees the harpies were on us
again. Summerlee was knocked down, but we
tore him up and rushed among the trunks. Once
there we were safe, for those huge wings had no
space for their sweep beneath the branches. As
we limped homewards, sadly mauled and dis-
comfited, we saw them for a long time flying at a
great height against the deep blue sky above our
heads, soaring round and round, no bigger than
wood-pigeons, with their eyes no doubt still fol-
lowing our progress. At last, however, as we
170 The Lost World
reached the thicker woods they gave up the chase,
and we saw them no more.
A MOST interesting and convincing experience,"
said Challenger, as we halted beside the brook
and he bathed a swollen knee. "We are excep-
tionally well informed, Summerlee, as to the habits
of the enraged pterodactyl."
Summerlee was wiping the blood from a cut in
his forehead, while I was tying up a nasty stab in
the muscle of the neck. Lord John had the
shoulder of his coat torn away, but the creature's
teeth had only grazed the flesh.
"It is worth noting," Challenger continued,
"that our young friend has received an undoubted
stab, while Lord John's coat could only have been
torn by a bite. In my own case, I was beaten
about the head by their wings, so we have had a
remarkable exhibition of their various methods
"It has been touch and go for our lives," said
Lord John, gravely, "and I could not think of a
more rotten sort of death than to be outed by such
filthy vermin. I was sorry to fire my rifle, but, by
Jove! there was no great choice."
"We should not be here if you hadn't," said I,
"It may do no harm," said he. "Among these
woods there must be many loud cracks from split-
ting or falling trees which would be just like the
sound of a gun. But now, if you are of my opinion,
we have had thrills enough for one day, and had
Wonderful Things Happened 171
best get back to the surgical box at the camp for
some carbolic. Who knows what venom these
beasts may have in their hideous jaws?"
But surely no men ever had just such a day
since the world began. Some fresh surprise was
ever in store for us. When, following the course
of our brook, we at last reached our glade and saw
the thorny barricade of our camp, we thought that
our adventures were at an end. But we had some-
thing more to think of before we could rest. The
gate of Fort Challenger had been untouched, the
walls were unbroken, and yet it had been visited
by some strange and powerful creature in our
absence. No foot-mark showed a trace of its
nature, and only the overhanging branch of the
enormous ginko tree suggested how it might have
come and gone; but of its malevolent strength
there was ample evidence in the condition of our
stores. They were strewn at random all over the
ground, and one tin of meat had been crushed
into pieces so as to extract the contents. A case
of cartridges had been shattered into matchwood,
and one of the brass shells lay shredded into pieces
beside it. Again the feeling of vague horror came
upon our souls, and we gazed round with frightened
eyes at the dark shadows which lay around us,
in all of which some fearsome shape might be
lurking. How good it was when we were hailed
by the voice of Zambo, and, going to the edge
of the plateau, saw him sitting grinning at us upon
the top of the opposite pinnacle.
"All well, Massa Challenger, all well!" he cried.
172 The Lost World
"Me stay here. No fear. You always find me
when you want."
His honest black face, and the immense view
before us, which carried us half-way back to the
affluent of the Amazon, helped us to remember
that we really were upon this earth in the twentieth
century, and had not by some magic been con-
veyed to some raw planet in its earliest and wildest
state. How difficult it was to realize that the
violet line upon the far horizon was well advanced
to that great river upon which huge steamers ran,
and folk talked of the small affairs of life, while we,
marooned among the creatures of a bygone age,
could but gaze towards it and yearn for all that
ONE other memory remains with me of this
wonderful day, and with it I will close this
letter. The two professors, their tempers aggra-
vated no doubt by their injuries, had fallen out
as to whether our assailants were of the genus
pterodactylus or dimorphodon, and high words
had ensued. To avoid their wrangling I moved
some little way apart, and was seated smoking
upon the trunk of a fallen tree, when Lord John
strolled over in my direction.
"I say, Malone," said he, "do you remember
that place where those beasts were?"
"A sort of volcanic pit, was it not?"
"Exactly," said I.
"Did you notice the soil?"
Wonderful Things Happened 173
" But round the water where the reeds were ?"
"It was a bluish soil. It looked like clay."
" Exactly. A volcanic tube full of blue clay."
"What of that?" I asked.
"Oh, nothing, nothing," said he, and strolled
back to where the voices of the contending men of
science rose in a prolonged duet, the high, strident
note of Summerlee rising and falling to the sonorous
bass of Challenger. I should have thought no more
of Lord John's remark were it not that once again
that night I heard him mutter to himself: "Blue
clay clay in a volcanic tube!" They were the
last words I heard before I dropped into an
"For once I was the Hero"
LORD JOHN ROXTON was right when he
thought that some specially toxic quality
might lie in the bite of the horrible creatures
which had attacked us. On the morning after our
first adyenture upon the plateau, both Summerlee
and I were in great pain and fever, while Challen-
ger's knee was so bruised that he could hardly limp.
We kept to our camp all day, therefore, Lord
John busying himself, with such help as we could
give him, in raising the height and thickness of
the thorny walls which were our only defense.
I remember that during the whole long day I was
haunted by the feeling that we were closely
observed, though by whom or whence I could
give no guess.
So strong was the impression that I told Pro-
fessor Challenger of it, who put it down to the
cerebral excitement caused by my fever. Again
and again I glanced round swiftly, with the con-
viction that I was about to see something, but
only to meet the dark tangle of our hedge or the
solemn and cavernous gloom of the great trees
which arched above our heads. And yet the
feeling grew ever stronger in my own mind that
For Once I Was the Hero 175
something observant and something malevolent
was at our very elbow. I thought of the Indian
superstition of the Curupuri the dreadful, lurk-
ing spirit of the woods and I could have imag-
ined that his terrible presence haunted those who
had invaded his most remote and sacred retreat.
night (our third in Maple White Land)
we had an experience which left a fearful
impression upon our minds, and made us thankful
that Lord John had worked so hard in making
our retreat impregnable. We were all sleeping
round our dying fire when we were aroused or,
rather, I should say, shot out of our slumbers
by a succession of the most frightful cries and
screams to which I have ever listened. I know
no sound to which I could compare this amazing
tumult, which seemed to come from some spot
within a few hundred yards of our camp. It was
as ear-splitting as any whistle of a railway-engine;
but whereas the whistle is a clear, mechanical,
sharp-edged sound, this was far deeper in volume
and vibrant with the uttermost strain of agony
and horror. We clapped our hands to our ears
to shut out that nerve-shaking appeal. A cold
sweat broke out over my body, and my heart
turned sick at the misery of it. All the woes of
tortured life, all its stupendous indictment of
high heaven, its innumerable sorrows, seemed to
be centered and condensed into that one dreadful,
agonized cry. And then, under this high-pitched,
ringing sound there was another, more intermittent,
176 The Lost World
a low, deep-chested laugh, a growling, throaty
gurgle of merriment which formed a grotesque
accompaniment to the shriek with which it was
blended. For three or four minutes on end the
fearsome duet continued, while all the foliage
rustled with the rising of startled birds. Then it
shut off as suddenly as it began. For a long time
we sat in horrified silence. Then Lord John threw
a bundle of twigs upon the fire, and their red glare
lit up the intent faces of my companions and
flickered over the great boughs above our heads.
"What was it?" I whispered.
"We shall know in the morning," said Lord
John. "It was close to us not farther than
"We have been privileged to overhear a pre-
historic tragedy, the sort of drama which occurred
among the reeds upon the border of some Jurassic
lagoon, when the greater dragon pinned the lesser
among the slime," said Challenger, with more
solemnity than I had ever heard in his voice. "It
was surely well for man that he came late in the
order of creation. There were powers abroad
in earlier days which no courage and no mechanism
of his could have met. What could his sling, his
throwing-stick, or his arrow avail him against
such forces as have been loose to-night? Even
with a modern rifle it would be all odds on the
"I think I should back my little friend," said
Lord John, caressing his Express. " But the beast
would certainly have a good sporting chance."
For Once I Was the Hero 177
Summerlee raised his hand.
"Hush!" he cried. "Surely I hear something?"
ROM the utter silence there emerged a deep,
regular pat-pat. It was the tread of some
animal the rhythm of soft but heavy pads
placed cautiously upon the ground. It stole
slowly round the camp, and then halted near our
gateway. There was a low, sibilant rise and fall
the breathing of the creature. Only our feeble
hedge separated us from this horror of the night.
Each of us had seized his rifle, and Lord John had
pulled out a small bush to make an embrasure in
"By George!" he whispered. "I think I can
I stooped and peered over his shoulder through
the gap. Yes, I could see it, too. In the deep
shadow of the tree there was a deeper shadow yet,
black, inchoate, vague a crouching form full of
savage vigor and menace. It was no higher than
a horse, but the dim outline suggested vastfbulk
and strength. That hissing pant, as regular and
full-volumed as the exhaust of an engine, spoke of
a monstrous organism. Once, as it moved, I
thought I saw the glint of two terrible, greenish
eyes. There was an uneasy rustling, as if it were
crawling slowly forward.
"I believe it is going to spring!" said I, cocking
"Don't fire! Don't fire!" whispered Lord
John. "The crash of a gun in this silent night
178 The Lost World
would be heard for miles. Keep it as a last
"If it gets over the hedge we're done," said
Summerlee, and his voice crackled into a nervous
laugh as he spoke.
"No, it must not get over," cried Lord John;
"but hold your fire to the last. Perhaps I can
make something of the fellow. I'll chance it,
It was as brave an act as ever I saw a man do.
He stooped to the fire, picked up a blazing branch,
and slipped in an instant through a sallyport which
he had made in our gateway. The thing moved
forward with a dreadful snarl. Lord John never
hesitated, but, running towards it with a quick,
light step, he dashed the flaming wood into the
brute's face. For one moment I had a vision of a
horrible mask like a giant toad's, of a warty,
leprous skin, and of a loose mouth all beslobbered
with fresh blood. The next, there was a crash
in the underwood and our dreadful visitor was
" I thought he wouldn't face the fire," said Lord
John, laughing, as he came back and threw his
branch among the faggots.
"You should not have taken such a risk!" we
"There was no thin' else to be done. If he had
got among us we should have shot each other in
tryin' to down him. On the other hand, if we had
fired through the hedge and wounded him he would
soon have been on the top of us to say nothin' of
For Once I Was the Hero 179
giving ourselves away. On the whole, I think that
we are jolly well out of it. What was he, then?"
Our learned men looked at each other with some
" Personally, I am unable to classify the creature
with any certainty," said Summerlee, lighting his
pipe from the fire.
"In refusing to commit yourself you are but
showing a proper scientific reserve," said Chal-
lenger, with massive condescension. "I am not
myself prepared to go farther than to say in general
terms that we have almost certainly been in con-
tact to-night with some form of carnivorous dino-
saur. I have already expressed my anticipation
that something of the sort might exist upon this
"We have to bear in mind," remarked Sum-
merlee, "that there are many prehistoric forms
which have never come down to us. It would
be rash to suppose that we can give a name to all
that we are likely to meet."
" Exactly. A rough classification may be the
best that we can attempt. To-morrow some
further evidence may help us to an identification.
Meantime we can only renew our interrupted
" But not without a sentinel," said Lord John,
with decision. "We can't afford to take chances
in a country like this. Two-hour spells in the
future, for each of us."
'Then I'll just finish my pipe in starting the first
one," said Professor Summerlee; and from that
180 The Lost World
time onwards we never trusted ourselves again
without a watchman.
TN the morning it was not long before we dis-
covered the source of the hideous uproar which
had aroused us in the night. The iguanodon
glade was the scene of a horrible butchery. From
the pools of blood and the enormous lumps of
flesh scattered in every direction over the green
sward we imagined at first that a number of
animals had been killed, but on examining the
remains more closely we discovered that all this
carnage came from one of these unwieldy monsters,
which had been literally torn to pieces by some
creature not larger, perhaps, but far more ferocious,
Our two professors sat in absorbed argument,
examining piece after piece, which showed the
marks of savage teeth and of enormous claws.
"Our judgment must still be in abeyance," said
Professor Challenger, with a huge slab of whitish-
colored flesh across his knee. "The indications
would be consistent with the presence of a saber-
toothed tiger, such as are still found among the
breccia of our caverns ; but the creature actually
seen was undoubtedly of a larger and more reptilian
character. Personally, I should pronounce for
"Or megalosaurus," said Summerlee.
"Exactly. Any one of the larger carnivorous
dinosaurs would meet the case. Among them are
to be found all the most terrible types of animal
For Once I Was the Hero 181
life that have ever cursed the earth or blessed a
museum/ 5 He laughed sonorously at his own
conceit, for, though he had little sense of humor,
the crudest pleasantry from his own lips moved
him always to roars of appreciation.
"The less noise the better," said Lord Roxton,
curtly. "We don't know who or what may be
near us. If this fellah comes back for InV breakfast
and catches us here we won't have so much to
laugh at. By the way, what is this mark upon the
the dull, scaly, slate-colored skin, somewhere
above the shoulder, there was a singular black
circle of some substance which looked like asphalt.
None of us could suggest what it meant, though
Summerlee was of opinion that he had seen some-
thing similar upon one of the young ones two days
before. Challenger said nothing, but looked pom-
pous and puffy, as if he could if he would, so that
finally Lord John asked his opinion direct.
"If your lordship will graciously permit me to
open my mouth, I shall be happy to express my
sentiments," said he, with elaborate sarcasm. "I
am not in the habit of being taken to task in the
fashion which seems to be customary with your
lordship. I was not aware that it was necessary
to ask your permission before smiling at a harmless
It was not until he had received his apology
that our touchy friend would suffer himself to be
appeased. When at last his ruffled feelings were
182 The Lost World
at ease, he addressed us at some length from his
seat upon a fallen tree, speaking, as his habit was,
as if he were imparting most precious information
to a class of a thousand.
"With regard to the marking," said he, "I am
inclined to agree with my friend and colleague,
Professor Summerlee, that the stains are from
asphalt. As this plateau is, in its very nature,
highly volcanic, and as asphalt is a substance which
one associates with Plutonic forces, I cannot doubt
that it exists in the free liquid state, and that the
creatures may have come in contact with it. A
much more important problem is the question as
to the existence of the carnivorous monster which
has left its traces in this glade. We know roughly
that this plateau is not larger than an average
English county. Within this confined space a
certain number of creatures, mostly types which
have passed away in the world below, have lived
together for innumerable years. Now, it is very
clear to me that in so long a period one would have
expected that the carnivorous creatures, multiply-
ing unchecked, would have exhausted their food
supply and have been compelled to either modify
their flesh-eating habits or die of hunger. This we
see has not been so. We can only imagine, there-
fore, that the balance of Nature is preserved by
some check which limits the numbers of these
ferocious creatures. One of the many interesting
problems, therefore, which await our solution is
to discover what that check may be and how it
operates. I venture to trust that we may have
For Once I Was the Hero 183
some future opportunity for the closer study of
the carnivorous dinosaurs."
"And I venture to trust we may not," I observed.
The Professor only raised his great eyebrows, as
the schoolmaster meets the irrelevant observation
of the naughty boy.
"Perhaps Professor Summerlee may have an
observation to make," he said, and the two
savants ascended together into some rarefied scien-
tific atmosphere, where the possibilities of a modi-
fication of the birth-rate were weighed against
the decline of the food supply as a check in the
struggle for existence.
That morning we mapped out a small portion of
the plateau, avoiding the swamp of the ptero-
dactyls, and keeping to the east of our brook
instead of to the west. In that direction the
country was still thickly wooded, with so much
undergrowth that our progress was very slow.
T HAVE dwelt up to now upon the terrors of
Maple White Land; but there was another
side to the subject, for all that morning we wan-
dered among lovely flowers mostly, as I ob-
served, white or yellow in color, these being, as
our professors explained, the primitive flower-
shades. In many places the ground was absolutely
covered with them, and as we walked ankle-deep
on that wonderful yielding carpet, the scent was
almost intoxicating in its sweetness and intensity.
The homely English bee buzzed everywhere around
us. Many of the trees under which we passed
184 The Lost World
had their branches bowed down with fruit, some
of which were of familiar sorts, while other varieties
were new. By observing which of them were
pecked by the birds we avoided all danger of
poison and added a delicious variety to our food
reserve. In the jungle which we traversed were
numerous hard-trodden paths made by the wild
beasts, and in the more marshy places we saw a
profusion of strange footmarks, including many
of the iguanodon. Once in a grove we observed
several of these great creatures grazing, and Lord
John, with his glass, was able to report that they
also were spotted with asphalt, though in a different
place to the one which we had examined in the
morning. What this phenomenon meant we could
We saw many small animals, such as porcupines,
a scaly ant-eater, and a wild pig, piebald in color
and with long curved tusks. Once, through a
break in the trees, we saw a clear shoulder of green
hill some distance away, and across this a large
dun-colored animal was traveling at a considerable
pace. It passed so swiftly that we were unable to
say what it was; but if it were a deer, as was
claimed by Lord John, it must have been as large
as those monstrous Irish elk which are still dug
up from time to time in the bogs of my native
Ever since the mysterious visit which had been
paid to our camp we always returned to it with
some misgivings. However, on this occasion we
found everything in order.
For Once I Was the Hero 185
HpHAT evening we had a grand discussion upon
our present situation and future plans, which
I must describe at some length, as it led to a new
departure by which we were enabled to gain a
more complete knowledge of Maple White Land
than might have come in many weeks of exploring.
It was Summerlee who opened the debate. All
day he had been querulous in manner, and now
some remark of Lord John's as to what we should
do on the morrow brought all his bitterness to a
"What we ought to be doing to-day, to-morrow,
and all the time," said he, "is finding some way
out of the trap into which we have fallen. You
are all turning your brains towards getting into
this country. I say that we should be scheming
how to get out of it."
"I am surprised, sir," boomed Challenger, strok-
ing his majestic beard, "that any man of science
should commit himself to so ignoble a sentiment.
You are in a land which offers such an induce-
ment to the ambitious naturalist as none ever has
since the world began, and you suggest leaving it
before we have acquired more than the most
superficial knowledge of it or of its contents. I
expected better things of you, Professor Sum-
"You must remember," said Summerlee, sourly,
"that I have a large class in London who are at
present at the mercy of an extremely inefficient
locum tenens. This makes my situation different
from yours, Professor Challenger, since, so far
186 The Lost World
as I know, you have never been entrusted with
any responsible educational work."
"Quite so," said Challenger. "I have felt it to
be a sacrilege to divert a brain which is capable of
the highest original research to any lesser object.
That is why I have sternly set my face against any
proffered scholastic appointment."
" For example ?" asked Summerlee, with a sneer;
but Lord John hastened to change the conversa-
"I must say," said he, "that I think it would be
a mighty poor thing to go back to London before I
know a great deal more of this place than I do at
" I could never dare to walk into the back office
of my paper and face old McArdle," said I. (You
will excuse the frankness of this report, will you
not, sir?) "He'd never forgive me for leaving
such unexhausted copy behind me. Besides, so
far as I can see, it is not worth discussing, since we
can't get down, even if we wanted."
"Our young friend makes up for many obvious
mental lacunae by some measure of primitive
common sense," remarked Challenger. "The in-
terests of his deplorable profession are immaterial
to us; but, as he observes, we cannot get down in
any case, so it is a waste of energy to discuss it."
"It is a waste of energy to do anything else,"
growled Summerlee from behind his pipe. "Let
me remind you that we came here upon a perfectly
definite mission, entrusted to us at the meeting of
the Zoological Institute in London. That mission
For Once I Was the Hero 187
was to test the truth of Professor Challenger's
statements. Those statements, as I am bound to
admit, we are now in a position to endorse. Our
ostensible work is therefore done. As to the detail
which remains to be worked out upon this plateau,
it is so enormous that only a large expedition, with
a very special equipment, could hope to cope with
it. Should we attempt to do so ourselves, the only
possible result must be that we shall never return
with the important contribution to science which
we have already gained. Professor Challenger
has devised means for getting us on to this plateau
when it appeared to be inaccessible; I think that
we should now call upon him to use the same in-
genuity in getting us back to the world from which
I confess that as Summerlee stated his view it
struck me as altogether reasonable. Even Chal-
lenger was affected by the consideration that his
enemies would never stand confuted if the con-
firmation of his statements should never reach
those who had doubted them.
"The problem of the descent is at first sight a
formidable one," said he, "and yet I cannot doubt
that the intellect can solve it. I am prepared to
agree with our colleague that a protracted stay
in Maple White Land is at present inadvisable, and
that the question of our return will soon have to be
faced. I absolutely refuse to leave, however, until
we have made at least a superficial examination of
this country, and are able to take back with us
something in the nature of a chart."
188 The Lost World
Professor Summerlee gave a snort of impatience.
"We have spent two long days in exploration,"
said he, "and we are no wiser as to the actual
geography of the place than when we started. It
is clear that it is all thickly wooded, and it would
take months to penetrate it and to learn the rela-
tions of one part to another. If there were some
central peak it would be different, but it all slopes
downwards, so far as we can see. The farther we
go the leso likely it is that we will get any general
JT was at that moment that I had my inspiration.
My eyes chanced to light upon the enormous
gnarled trunk of the gingko tree which cast its
huge branches over us. Surely, if its bole exceeded
that of all others, its height must do the same.
If the rim of the plateau was indeed the highest
point, then why should this mighty tree not prove
to be a watchtower which commanded the whole
country? Now, ever since I ran wild as a lad in
Ireland I have been a bold and skilled tree-climber.
My comrades might be my masters on the rocks,
but I knew that I would be supreme among those
branches. Could I only get my legs on to the
lowest of the giant off-shoots, then it would be
strange indeed if I could not make my way to the
top. My comrades were delighted at my idea.
"Our young friend," said Challenger, bunching
up the red apples of his cheeks, "is capable of
acrobatic exertions which would be impossible
to a man of a more solid, though possibly of a
For Once I Was the Hero 189
more commanding, appearance. I applaud his
" By George, young fellah, you Ve put your hand
on it!" said Lord John, clapping me on the back.
"How we never came to think of it before I
can't imagine! There's not more than an hour
of daylight left, but if you take your notebook you
may be able to get some rough sketch of the place.
If we put these three ammunition cases under the
branch, I will soon hoist you on to it."
He stood on the boxes while I faced the trunk,
and was gently raising me when Challenger sprang
forward and gave me such a thrust with his huge
hand that he fairly shot me into the tree. With
both arms clasping the branch, I scrambled hard
with my feet until I had worked, first my body,
and then my knees, on to it. There were three
excellent off-shoots, like huge rungs of a ladder,
above my head, and a tangle of convenient
branches beyond, so that I clambered onwards
with such speed that I soon lost sight of the ground
and had nothing but foliage beneath me. Now
and then I encountered a check, and once I had
to shin up a creeper for eight or ten feet, but I made
excellent progress, and the booming of Challen-
ger's voice seemed to be a great distance beneath
me. The tree was, however, enormous, and,
looking upwards, I could see no thinning of the
leaves above my head. There was some thick,
bush-like clump which seemed to be a parasite
upon a branch up which I was swarming. I leaned
my head round it in order to see what was beyond.
190 The Lost World
and I nearly fell out of the tree in my surprise and
horror at what I saw.
A face was gazing into mine at the distance of
only a foot or two. The creature that owned it
had been crouching behind the parasite, and had
looked round it at the same instant that I did. It
was a human face or at least it was far more
human than any monkey's that I have ever seen.
It was long, whitish, and blotched with pimples,
the nose flattened, and the lower jaw projecting,
with a bristle of coarse whiskers round the chin.
The eyes, which were under thick and heavy brows,
were bestial and ferocious, and as it opened its
mouth to snarl what sounded like a curse at me I
observed that it had curved, sharp canine teeth.
For an instant I read hatred and menace in the
evil eyes. Then, as quick as a flash, came an
expression of overpowering fear. There was a
crash of broken boughs as it dived wildly down
into the tangle of green. I caught a glimpse of a
hairy body like that of a reddish pig, and then it
was gone amid a swirl of leaves and branches.
"What's the matter?" shouted Roxton from
below. " Anything wrong with you ? "
"Did you see it?" I cried, with my arms round
the branch and all my nerves tingling.
"We heard a row, as if your foot had slipped.
What was it?"
I was so shocked at the sudden and strange
appearance of this ape-man that I hesitated
whether I should not climb down again and tell
my experience to my companions. But I was
I READ HATRED AND MENACE
IN THE EVIL EYES
For Once I Was the Hero 191
already so far up the great tree that it seemed a
humiliation to return without having carried out
After a long pause, therefore, to recover my
breath and my courage, I continued my ascent.
Once I put my weight upon a rotten branch and
swung for a few seconds by my hands, but in the
main it was all easy climbing. Gradually the
leaves thinned around me, and I was aware, from
the wind upon my face, that I had topped all the
trees of the forest. I was determined, however,
not to look about me before I had reached the
very highest point, so I scrambled on until I had
got so far that the topmost branch was bending
beneath my weight. There I settled into a con-
venient fork, and, balancing myself securely, I
found myself looking down at a most wonderful
panorama of this strange country in which we
HTHE sun was just above the western sky-line,
and the evening was a particularly bright and
clear one, so that the whole extent of the plateau
was visible beneath me. It was, as seen from
this height, of an oval contour, with a breadth of
about thirty miles and a width of twenty. Its
general shape was that of a shallow funnel, all the
sides sloping down to a considerable lake in the
center. This lake may have been ten miles in
circumference, and lay very green and beautiful
in the evening light, with a thick fringe of reeds
at its edges, and with its surface broken by several
192 The Lost World
yellow sandbanks, which gleamed golden in the
mellow sunshine. A number of long dark objects,
which were too large for alligators and too long
for canoes, lay upon the edges of these patches of
sand. With my glass I could clearly see that
they were alive, but what their nature might be I
could not imagine.
From the side of the plateau on which we
were, slopes of woodland, with occasional glades,
stretched down for five or six miles to the central
lake. I could see at my very feet the glade of
the iguanodons, and farther off was a round open-
ing in the trees which marked the swamp of the
pterodactyls. On the side facing me, however,
the plateau presented a very different aspect.
There the basalt cliffs of the outside were repro-
duced upon the inside, forming an escarpment
about two hundred feet high, with a woody slope
beneath it. Along the base of these red cliffs,
some distance above the ground, I could see a
number of dark holes through the glass, which I
conjectured to be the mouths of caves. At the
opening of one of these something white was
shimmering, but I was unable to make out what
it was. I sat charting the country until the sun
had set and it was so dark that I could no longer
distinguish details. Then I climbed down to my
companions waiting for me so eagerly at the
bottom of the great tree. For once I was the
hero of the expedition. Alone I had thought of
it, and alone I had done it; and here was the chart
which would save us a month's blind groping
For Once I Was the Hero 193
among unknown dangers. Each of them shook
me solemnly by the hand.
TJUT before they discussed the details of my
map I had to tell them of my encounter with
the ape-man among the branches.
"He has been there all the time/' said I.
"How do you know that?" asked Lord John.
r "Because I have never been without that
feeling that something malevolent was watching
us. I mentioned it to you, Professor Challenger/'
1 "Our young friend certainly said something of
the kind. He is also the one among us who is en-
dowed with that Celtic temperament which would
make him sensitive to such impressions."
"The whole theory of telepathy " began
Summerlee, filling his pipe.
"Is too vast to be now discussed/' said Chal-
lenger, with decision. "Tell me, now," he added,
with the air of a bishop addressing a Sunday-
school, "did you happen to observe whether the
creature could cross its thumb over its palm?"
"Had it a tail?"
"Was the foot prehensile?"
"I do not think it could have made off so fast
among the branches if it could not get a grip with
"In South America there are, if my memory
serves me you will check the observation, Pro-
fessor Summerlee some thirty-six species of
194 The Lost World
monkeys, but the anthropoid ape is unknown, It
is clear, however, that he exists in this country,
and that he is not the hairy, gorilla-like variety,
which is never seen out of Africa or the East."
(I was inclined to interpolate, as I looked at him,
that I had seen his first cousin in Kensington.)
"This is a whiskered and colorless type, the latter
characteristic pointing to the fact that he spends
his days in arboreal seclusion. The question
which we have to face is whether he approaches
more closely to the ape or the man. In the latter
case, he may well approximate to what the vulgar
have called the 'missing link/ The solution of
this problem is our immediate duty."
"It is nothing of the sort," said Summerlee,
abruptly. "Now that, through the intelligence
and activity of Mr. Malone" (I cannot help
quoting the words), "we have got our chart, our
one and only immediate duty is to get ourselves
safe and sound out of this awful place."
"The flesh-pots of civilization," groaned Chal-
"The ink-pots of civilization, sir. It is our task
to put on record what we have seen, and to leave
the further exploration to others. You all agreed
as much before Mr. Malone got us the chart."
"Well," said Challenger, "I admit that my
mind will be more at ease when I am assured that
the result of our expedition has been conveyed to
our friends. How we are to get down from this
place I have not as yet an idea. I have never
yet encountered any problem, however, which
For Once I Was the Hero 195
my inventive brain was unable to solve, and I
promise you that to-morrow I will turn my atten-
tion to the question of our descent."
And so the matter was allowed to rest.
"DUT that evening, by the light of the fire and
of a single candle, the first map of the lost
world was elaborated. Every detail which I had
roughly noted from my watch-tower was drawn
out in its relative place. Challenger's pencil
hovered over the great blank which marked the
"What shall we call it?" he asked.
"Why should you not take the chance of per-
petuating your own name ?" said Summerlee, with
his usual touch of acidity.
"I trust, sir, that my name will have other and
more personal claims upon posterity," said Chal-
lenger, severely. "Any ignoramus can hand down
his worthless memory by imposing it upon a
mountain or a river. I need no such monument."
Summerlee, with a twisted smile, was about to
make some fresh assault when Lord John hastened
"It's up to you, young fellah, to name the lake,"
said he. ''You saw it first, and, by George, if
you choose to put 'Lake Malone' on it, no one
has a better right."
" By all means. Let our young friend give it a
name," said Challenger.
"Then," said I, blushing, I dare say, as I said it,
"let it be named Lake Gladys."
196 The Lost World
"Don't you think the Central Lake would be
more descriptive?" remarked Summerlee.
"I should prefer Lake Gladys/'
Challenger looked at me sympathetically, and
shook his great head in mock disapproval. " Boys
will be boys/' said he. "Lake Gladys let it be."
"It>-was Dreadful in the Forest"
I HAVE said or perhaps I have not said, for
my memory plays me sad tricks these days
that I glowed with pride when three such men
as my comrades thanked me for having saved, or
at least greatly helped, the situation. As the
youngster of the party, not merely in years, but
in experience, character, knowledge, and all that
goes to make a man, I had been overshadowed
from the first. And now I was coming into my
own. I warmed at the thought. Alas! for the
pride which goes before a fall! That little glow
of self-satisfaction, that added measure of self-
confidence, were to lead me on that very night to
the most dreadful experience of my life, ending
with a shock which turns my heart sick when I
think of it.
It came about in this way. I had been unduly
excited by the adventure of the tree, and sleep
seemed to be impossible. Summerlee was on guard ,
sitting hunched over our small fire, a quaint,
angular figure, his rifle across his knees and his
pointed, goat-like beard wagging with each weary
nod of his head. Lord John lay silent, wrapped
in the South American poncho which he wore,
198 The Lost World
while Challenger snored with a roll and rattle
which reverberated through the woods. The full
moon was shining brightly, and the air was crisply
cold. What a night for a walk! And then sud-
denly came the thought, "Why not?" Suppose
I stole softly away, suppose I made my way down
to the central lake, suppose I was back at break-
fast with some record of the place would I not
in that case be thought an even more worthy
associate? Then, if Summerlee carried the day
and some means of escape were found, we should
return to London with first-hand knowledge of
the central mystery of the plateau, to which I
alone, of all men, would have penetrated. I
thought of Gladys, with her "There are heroisms
all round us." I seemed to hear her voice as she
said it. I thought also of McArdle. What a three
column article for the paper! What a foundation
for a career! A correspondentship in the next
great war might be within my reach. I clutched
at a gun my pockets were full of cartridges -
and, parting the thorn bushes at the gate of
our zareba, quickly slipped out. My last glance
showed me the unconscious Summerlee, most
futile of sentinels, still nodding away like a queer
mechanical toy in front of the smouldering fire.
F HAD not gone a hundred yards before I deeply
repented my rashness. I may have said some-
where in this chronicle that I am too imaginative
to be a really courageous man, but that I have an
overpowering fear of seeming afraid. This was
It Was Dreadful in the Forest 199
the power which now carried me onwards. I
simply could not slink back with nothing done.
Even if my comrades should not have missed me,
and should never know of my weakness, there
would still remain some intolerable self-shame in
my own soul. And yet I shuddered at the position
in which I found myself, and would have given
all I possessed at that moment to have been
honorably free of the whole business.
It was dreadful in the forest. The trees grew
so thickly and their foliage spread so widely that I
could see nothing of the moon-light save that here
and there the high branches made a tangled fili-
gree against the starry sky. As the eyes became
more used to the obscurity one learned that there
were different degrees of darkness among the
trees that some were dimly visible, while be-
tween and among them there were coal-black
shadowed patches, like the mouths of caves, from
which I shrank in horror as I passed. I thought of
the despairing yell of the tortured iguanodon
that dreadful cry which had echoed through the
woods. I thought, too, of the glimpse I had in
the light of Lord John's torch of that bloated,
warty, blood-slavering muzzle. Even now I was
on its hunting-ground. At any instant it might
spring upon me from the shadows this nameless
and horrible monster. I stopped, and, picking a
cartridge from my pocket, I opened the breech
of my gun. As I touched the lever my heart
leaped within me. It was the shot-gun, not the
rifle, which I had taken!
200 The Lost World
Again the impulse to return swept over me.
Here, surely, was a most excellent reason for my
failure one for which no one would think the
less of me. But again the foolish pride fought
against that very word. I could not must not -
fail. After all, my rifle would probably have been
as useless as a shot-gun against such dangers as I
might meet. If I were to go back to camp to
change my weapon I could hardly expect to enter
and to leave again without being seen. In that
case there would be explanations, and my attempt
would no longer be all my own. After a little hesita-
tion, then, I screwed up my courage and continued
upon my way, my useless gun under my arm.
HpHE darkness of the forest had been alarming,
but even worse was the white, still flood of
moonlight in the open glade of the iguanodons.
Hid among the bushes, I looked out at it. None
of the great brutes were in sight. Perhaps the
tragedy which had befallen one of them had driven
them from their feeding-ground. In the misty,
silvery night I could see no sign of any living thing.
Taking courage, therefore, I slipped rapidly across
it, and among the jungle on the farther side I
picked up once again the brook which was my
guide. It was a cheery companion, gurgling and
chuckling as it ran, like the dear old trout-stream
in the West Country where I h'ave fished at night
in my boyhood. So long as I followed it down I
must come to the lake, and so long as I followed
it back I must come to the camp. Often I had to
It Was Dreadful in the Forest 201
lose sight of it on account of the tangled brush-
wood, but I was always within earshot of its tinkle
As one descended the slope the woods became
thinner, and bushes, with occasional high trees,
took the place of the forest. I could make good
progress, therefore, and I could see without being
seen. I passed close to the pterodactyl swamp,
and as I did so, with a dry, crisp, leathery rattle of
wings, one of these great creatures it was twenty
feet at least from tip to tip rose up from some-
where near me and soared into the air. As it
passed across the face of the moon the light shone
clearly through the membranous wings, and it
looked like a flying skeleton against the white,
tropical radiance. I crouched low among the
bushes, for I knew from past experience that with
a single cry the creature could bring a hundred of
its loathsome mates about my ear?. It was not
until it had settled again that I dared to steal
onwards upon my journey.
The night had been exceedingly still, but as I
advanced I became conscious of a low, rumbling
sound, a continuous murmur, somewhere in front
of me. This grew louder as I proceeded, until at
last it was clearly quite close to me. When I stood
still the sound was constant, so that it seemed
to come from some stationary cause. It was like
a boiling kettle or the bubbling of some great pot.
Soon I came upon the source of it, for in the center
of a small clearing I found a lake or a pool, rather,
for it was not larger than the basin of the Trafalgar
202 The Lost World
Square fountain of some black, pitch-like stuff,
the surface of which rose and fell in great blisters
of bursting gas. The air above it was shimmer-
ing with heat, and the ground round was so hot
that I could hardly bear to lay my hand on it.
It was clear that the great volcanic outburst which
had raised this strange plateau so many years ago
had not yet entirely spent its forces. Blackened
rocks and mounds of lava I had already seen every-
where peeping out from amid the luxuriant vegeta-
tion which draped them, but this asphalt pool in the
jungle was the first sign that we had of actual exist-
ing activity on the slopes of the ancient crater. I
had no time to examine it further for I had need to
hurry if I were to be back in camp in the morning.
It was a fearsome walk, and one which will be
with me so long as memory holds. In the great
moonlight clearings I slunk along among the
shadows on the margin. In the jungle I crept
forward, stopping with a beating heart whenever
I heard, as I often did, the crash of breaking
branches as some wild beast went past. Now and
then great shadows loomed up for an instant and
were gone great, silent shadows w r hich seemed
to prowl upon padded feet. How often I stopped
with the intention of returning, and yet every
time my pride conquered my fear, and sent me on
again until my object should be attained.
AT last (my watch showed that it was one in
the morning) I saw the gleam of water amid the
openings of the jungle, and ten minutes later I
It Was Dreadful in the Forest 203
was among the reeds upon the borders of the central
lake. I was exceedingly dry, so I lay down and
took a long draught of its waters, which were fresh
and cold. There was a broad pathway with many
tracks upon it at the spot which I had found, so
that it was clearly one of the drinking-places of
the animals. Close to the water's edge there was
a huge isolated block of lava. Up this I climbed,
and, lying on the top, I had an excellent view in
The first thing which I saw filled me with amaze-
ment. When I described the view from the sum-
mit of the great tree, I said that on the farther
cliff I could see a number of dark spots, which
appeared to be the mouths of caves. Now, as I
looked up at the same cliffs, I saw discs of light
in every direction, ruddy, clearly-defined patches,
like the port-holes of a liner in the darkness. For
a moment I thought it was the lava-glow from
some volcanic action; but this could not be so.
Any volcanic action would surely be down in the
hollow, and not high among the rocks. What,
then, was the alternative ? It was wonderful, and
yet it must surely be. These ruddy spots must
be the reflection of fires within the caves fires
which could only be lit by the hand of man. There
were human beings, then, upon the plateau. How
gloriously my expedition was justified! Here was
news indeed for us to bear back with us to London !
For a long time I lay and watched these red,
quivering blotches of light. I suppose they were
ten miles off from me, yet even at that distance
204 The Lost World
one could observe how, from time to time, they
twinkled or were obscured as someone passed
before them. What would I not have given to be
able to crawl up to them, to peep in, and to take
back some word to my comrades as to the appear-
ance and character of the race who lived in so
strange a place! It was out of the question for
the moment, and yet surely we could not leave
the plateau until we had some definite knowledge
upon the point.
Lake Gladys my own lake lay like a sheet
of quicksilver before me, with a reflected moon
shining brightly in the center of it. It was shallow,
for in many places I saw low sandbanks protruding
above the water. - Everywhere upon the still sur-
face I could see signs of life, sometimes mere rings
and ripples in the water, sometimes the gleam of
a great silver-sided fish in the air, sometimes the
arched, slate-colored back of some passing monster.
Once upon a yellow sandbank I saw a creature like
a huge swan, with a clumsy body and a high, flexible
neck, shuffling about upon the margin. Presently
it plunged in, and for some time I could see the
arched neck and darting head undulating over the
water. Then it dived, and I saw it no more.
My attention was soon drawn away from these
distant sights and brought back to what was going
on at my very feet. Two creatures like large
armadillos had come down to the drinking-place,
and were squatting at the edge of the water, their
long, flexible tongues like red ribbons shooting
in and out as they lapped. A huge deer, with
It Was Dreadful in the Forest 205
branching horns, a magnificent creature which
carried itself like a king, came down with its doe
and two fawns and drank beside the armadillos.
No such deer exist anywhere else upon earth, for
the moose or elks which I have seen would hardly
have reached its shoulders. Presently it gave a
warning snort, and was off with its family among
the reeds, while the armadillos also scuttled for
shelter. A new-comer, a most monstrous animal,
was coming down the path.
For a moment I wondered where I could have
seen that ungainly shape, that arched back with
triangular fringes along it, that strange bird-like
head held close to the ground. Then it came back
to me. It was the stegosaurus the very creature
which Maple White had preserved in his sketch-
book, and which had been the first object which
arrested the attention of Challenger! There he
was perhaps the very specimen which the Ameri-
can artist had encountered. The ground shook
beneath his tremendous weight, and his gulpings
of water resounded through the still night. For
five minutes he was so close to my rock that by
stretching out my hand I could have touched the
hideous waving hackles upon his back. Then he
lumbered away and was lost among the boulders.
Looking at my watch, I saw that it was half-
past two o'clock, and high time, therefore, that I
started upon my homeward journey. There was
no difficulty about the direction in which I should
return, for all along I had kept the little brook
upon my left, and it opened into the central lake
206 The Lost World
within a stone's-throw of the boulder upon which
I had been lying. I set off, therefore, in high
spirits, for I felt that I had done good work and
was bringing back a fine budget of news for my
companions. Foremost of all, of course, were
the sight of the fiery caves and the certainty that
some troglodytic race inhabited them. But besides
that I could speak from experience of the central
lake. I could testify that it was full of strange
creatures, and I had seen several land forms of
primeval life which we had not before encountered.
I reflected as I walked that few men in the world
could have spent a stranger night or added more
to human knowledge in the course of it.
T WAS plodding up the slope, turning these
thoughts over in my mind, and had reached a
point which may have been half-way to home,
when my mind was brought back to my own posi-
tion by a strange noise behind me. It was some-
thing between a snore and a growl, low, deep, and
exceedingly menacing. Some strange creature
was evidently near me, but nothing could be seen,
so I hastened more rapidly upon my way. I had
traversed half a mile or so when suddenly the
sound was repeated, still behind me, but louder
and more menacing than before. My heart stood
still within me as it flashed across me that the
beast, whatever it was, must surely be after me.
My skin grew cold and my hair rose at the thought.
That these monsters should tear each other to
pieces was a part of the strange struggle for exist-
It Was Dreadful in the Forest 207
ence, but that they should turn upon modern
man, that they should deliberately track and hunt
down the predominant human, was a staggering
and fearsome thought. I remembered again the
blood-beslobbered face which we had seen in the
glare of Lord John's torch, like some horrible
vision from the deepest circle of Dante's hell.
With my knees shaking beneath me, I stood and
glared with starting eyes down the moonlit path
which lay behind me. All was quiet as in a dream
landscape. Silver clearings and the black patches
of the bushes nothing else could I see. Then
from out of the silence, imminent and threatening,
there came once more that low, throaty croaking,
far louder and closer than before. There could
no longer be a doubt. Something was on my
trail, and was closing in upon me every minute.
I stood like a man paralyzed, still staring at the
ground which I had traversed. Then suddenly I
saw it. There was movement among the bushes
at the far end of the clearing which I had just
traversed . A great dark shadow disengaged itself
and hopped out into the clear moonlight. I say
"hopped" advisedly, for the beast moved like a
kangaroo, springing along in an erect position
upon its powerful hind-legs, while its front ones
were held bent in front of it. It was of enormous
size and power, like an erect elephant, but its
movements, in spite of its bulk, were exceedingly
alert. For a moment, as I saw its shape, I hoped
that it was an iguanodon, which I knew to be
harmless, but, ignorant as I was, I soon saw that
208 The Lost World
this was a very different creature. Instead of
the gentle, deer-shaped head of the great three-
toed leaf-eater, this beast had a broad, squat,
toad-like face like that which had alarmed us in our
camp. His ferocious cry and the horrible energy
of his pursuit both assured me that this was surely
one of the great flesh-eating dinosaurs, the most
terrible beasts which have ever walked this earth.
As the huge brute loped along it dropped forward
upon its fore-paws and brought its nose to the
ground every twenty yards or so. It was smelling
out my trail. Sometimes, for an instant, it was
at fault. Then it would catch it up again and
come bounding swiftly along the path I had taken.
Even now when I think of that nightmare the
sweat breaks out upon my brow. What could I
do? My useless fowling-piece was in my hand.
What help could I get from that? I looked
desperately round for some rock or tree, but I was
in a bushy jungle with nothing higher than a
sapling within sight, while I knew that the creature
behind me could tear down an ordinary tree as
though it were a reed. My only possible chance
lay in flight. I could not move swiftly over the
rough, broken ground, but as I looked round me
in despair I saw a well-marked, hard-beaten path
which ran across in front of me. We had seen
several of the sort, the runs of various wild beasts,
during our expeditions. Along this I could per-
haps hold my own, for I was a fast runner, and
in excellent condition. Flinging away my useless
gun, I set myself to do such a half-mile as I have
It Was Dreadful in the Forest 209
never done before or since. My limbs ached, my
chest heaved, I felt that my throat would burst
for want of air, and yet with that horror behind
me I ran and I ran and ran. At last I paused,
hardly able to move. For a moment I thought that
I had thrown him off. The path lay still behind
me. And then suddenly, with a crashing and a
rending, a thudding of giant feet and a panting
of monster lungs the beast was upon me once more.
He was at my very heels. I was lost.
Madman that I was to linger so long before I
fled! Up to then he had hunted by scent, and
his movement was slow. But he had actually
seen me as I started to run. From then onwards
he had hunted by sight, for the path showed him
where I had gone. Now, as he came round the
curve, he was springing in great bounds. The
moonlight shone upon his huge projecting eyes,
the row of enormous teeth in his open mouth,
and the gleaming fringe of claws upon his short,
powerful forearms. With a scream of terror I
turned and rushed wildly down the path. Behind
me the thick, gasping breathing of the creature
sounded louder and louder. His heavy footfall
was beside me. Every instant I expected to feel
his grip upon my back. And then suddenly there
came a crash I was falling through space, and
everything beyond was darkness and rest.
A S I emerged from my unconsciousness which
could not, I think, have lasted more than a few
minutes I was aware of a most dreadful and
210 The Lost World
penetrating smell. Putting out my hand in the
darkness I came upon something which felt like
a huge lump of meat, while my other hand closed
upon a large bone. Up above me there was a
circle of starlit sky, which showed me that I was
lying at the bottom of a deep pit. Slowly I
staggered to my feet and felt myself all over. I
was stiff and sore from head to foot, but there was
no limb which would not move, no joint which
would not bend. As the circumstances of my
fall came back into my confused brain, I looked
up in terror, expecting to see that dreadful head
silhouetted against the paling sky. There was
no sign of the monster, however, nor could I hear
any sound from above. I began to walk slowly
round, therefore, feeling in every direction to find
out what this strange place could be into which I
had been so opportunely precipitated.
: It was, as I have said, a pit, with sharply-sloping
walls and a level bottom about twenty feet across.
This bottom was littered with great gobbets of flesh,'
most of which was in the last state of putridity.
The atmosphere was poisonous and horrible.
After tripping and stumbling over these lumps of
decay, I came suddenly against something hard,'
and I found that an upright post was firmly fixed
in the center of the hollow. It was so high that
I could not reach the top of it with my hand, and
it appeared to be covered with grease.
Suddenly I remembered that I had a tin box of
wax-vestas in my pocket. Striking one of them,
I was able at last to form some opinion of this
It Was Dreadful in the Forest 211
place into which I had fallen. There could be
no question as to its nature. It was a trap
made by the hand of man. The post in the center,
some nine feet long, was sharpened at the upper
end, and was black with the stale blood of the
creatures who had been impaled upon it. The
remains scattered about were fragments of the
victims, which had been cut away in order to clear
the stake for the next who might blunder in. I
remembered that Challenger had declared that
man could not exist upon the plateau, since with
his feeble weapons he could not hold his own against
the monsters who roamed over it. But now it
was clear enough how it could be done. In their
narrow-mouthed caves the natives, whoever they
might be, had refuges into which the huge saurians
could not penetrate, while with their developed
brains they were capable of setting such traps,
covered with branches, across the paths which
marked the run of the animals as would destroy
them in spite of all their strength and activity.
Man was always the master.
The sloping wall of the pit was not difficult for
an active man to climb, but I hesitated long before
I trusted myself within reach of the dreadful crea-
ture which had so nearly destroyed me. How did
I know that he was not lurking in the nearest
clump of bushes, waiting for my reappearance?
I took heart, however, as I recalled a conversa-
tion between Challenger and Summerlee upon the
habits of the great saurians. Both were agreed
that the monsters were practically brainless, that
212 The Lost World
there was no room for reason in their tiny cranial
cavities, and that if they have disappeared from
the rest of the world it was assuredly on account of
their own stupidity, which made it impossible for
them to adapt themselves to changing conditions.
To lie in wait for me now would mean that the
creature had appreciated what had happened to
me, and this in turn would argue some power con-
necting Cause and effect. Surely it was more likely
that a brainless creature, acting solely by vague
predatory instinct, would give up the chase when
I disappeared, and, after a pause of astonishment,
would wander away in search of some other prey ?
I clambered to the edge of the pit and looked over.
The stars were fading, the sky was whitening, and
the cold wind of morning blew pleasantly upon my
face. I could see or hear nothing of my enemy.
Slowly I climbed out and sat for a while upon the
ground, ready to spring back into my refuge if any
danger should appear. Then, reassured by the
absolute stillness and by the growing light, I took
my courage in both hands and stole back along the
path which I had come. Some distance down it I
picked up my gun, and shortly afterwards struck
the brook which was my guide. So, with many
a frightened backward glance, I made for home.
A ND suddenly there came something to remind
me of my absent companions. In the clear,
still morning air there sounded far away the sharp,
hard note of a single rifle-shot. I paused and
listened, but there was nothing more. For a
It Was Dreadful in the Forest 213
moment I was shocked at the thought that some
sudden danger might have befallen them. But
then a simpler and more natural explanation came
to my mind. It was now broad daylight. No
doubt my absence had been noticed. They had
imagined^that/T was lost in the woods, and had
fired this shot to guide me home. It is true that
we had made a strict resolution against firing, but
if it seemed to them that I might be in danger
they would not hesitate. It was for me now to
hurry on as fast as possible, and so to reassure
I was weary and spent, so my progress was not
so fast as I wished ; but at last I came into regions
which I knew. There was the swamp of the ptero-
dactyls upon my left ; there in front of me was the
glade of the iguanodons. Now I was in the last
belt of trees which separated me from Fort Chal-
lenger.! I raised my voice in a cheery shout to
allay^ their fears. No answering greeting came
back to me. My heart sank at that ominous still-
ness. I quickened my pace into a run. The
zareba rose before me, even as I had left it, but
the gate was open. I rushed in. In the cold,
morning light it was a fearful sight which met my
eyes. Our effects were scattered in wild confusion
over the ground; my comrades had disappeared,
and close to the smouldering ashes of our fire the
grass was stained crimson with a hideous pool of
I was so stunned by this sudden shock that for a
time I must have nearly lost my reason. I have a
214 The Lost World
vague recollection, as one remembers a bad dream,
of rushing about through the woods all round the
empty camp, calling wildly for my companions.
No answer came back from the silent shadows.
The horrible thought that I might never see them
again, that I might find myself abandoned all alone
in that dreadful place, with no possible way of
descending into the world below, that I might live
and die in that nightmare country, drove me to
desperation. I could have torn my hair and
beaten my head in my despair. Only now did I
realize how I had learned to lean upon my com-
panions, upon the serene self-confidence of Chal-
lenger, and upon the masterful, humorous coolness
of Lord John Roxton. Without them I was like
a child in the dark, helpless and powerless. I
did not know which way to turn or what I should
After a period, during which I sat in bewilder-
ment, I set myself to try and discover what sud-
den misfortune could have befallen my companions.
The whole disordered appearance of the camp
showed that there had been some sort of attack,
and the rifle-shot no doubt marked the time when
it had occurred. That there should have been
only one shot showed that it had been all over in
an instant. The rifles still lay upon the ground,
and one of them Lord John's had the empty
cartridge in the breech. The blankets of Chal-
lenger and of Summerlee beside the fire suggested
that they had been asleep at the time. The cases
of ammunition and of food were scattered about
It Was Dreadful in the Forest 215
in a wild litter, together with our unfortunate
cameras and plate-carriers, but none of them were
missing. On the other hand, all the exposed pro-
visions and I remembered that there were a
considerable quantity of them were gone. They
were animals, then, and not natives, who had
made the inroad, for surely the latter would have
left nothing behind.
But if animals, or some single terrible animal,
then what had become of my comrades ? A fero-
cious beast would surely have destroyed them and
left their remains. It is true that there was that
one hideous pool of blood, which told of violence.
Such a monster as had pursued me during the
night could have carried away a victim as easily
as a cat would a mouse. In that case the others
would have followed in pursuit. But then they
would assuredly have taken their rifles with them.
The more I tried to think it out with my con-
fused and weary brain the less could I find any
plausible explanation. I searched round in the
forest, but could see no tracks which could help
me to a conclusion. Once I lost myself, and it
was only by good luck, and after an hour of
wandering, that I found the camp once more.
CUDDENLY a thought came to me and brought
some little comfort to my heart. I was not
absolutely alone in the world. Down at the
bottom of the cliff, and within call of me, was
waiting the faithful Zambo. I went to the edge
of the plateau and looked over. Sure enough,
216 The Lost" World
he was squatting among his blankets beside his
fire in his little camp. But, to my amazement, a
second man was seated in front of him. For an
instant my heart leaped for joy, as I thought that
one of my comrades had made his way safely
down. But a second glance dispelled the hope.
The rising sun shone red upon the man's skin.
He was an Indian. I shouted loudly and waved
my handkerchief. Presently Zambo looked up,
waved his hand, and turned to ascend the pin-
nacle. In a short time he was standing close to
me and listening with deep distress to the story
which I told him.
" Devil got them for sure, Massa Malone," said
he. "You got into the devil's country, sah, and
he take you all to himself. You take advice,
Massa Malone, and come down quick, else he get
you as well."
"How can I come down, Zambo?"
"You get creepers from trees, Massa Malone.
Throw them over here. I make fast to this stump,
and so you have bridge."
"We have thought of that. There are no
creepers here which could bear us."
"Send for ropes, Massa Malone."
"Who can I send, and where?"
" Send to Indian villages, sah. Plenty hiderope
in Indian village. Indian down below; send him."
"Who is he?"
"One of our Indians. Other ones beat him and
take away his pay. He come back to us. Ready
now to take letter, bring rope, anything."
It Was Dreadful in the Forest 217
To take a letter! Why not? Perhaps he
might bring help ; but in any case he would ensure
that our lives were not spent for nothing, and that
news of all that we had won for Science should
reach our friends at home. I had two completed
letters already waiting. I would spend the day
in writing a third, which would bring my experi-
ences absolutely up to date. The Indian could
bear this back to the world. I ordered Zambo,
therefore, to come again in the evening, and I
spent my miserable and lonely day in recording
my own adventures of the night before. I also
drew up a note, to be given to any white merchant
or captain of a steam-boat whom the Indian could
find, imploring them to see that ropes were sent
to us, since our lives must depend upon it. These
documents I threw to Zambo in the evening, and
also my purse, which contained three English
sovereigns. These were to be given to the Indian,
and he was promised twice as much if he returned
with the ropes.
So now you will understand, my dear Mr.
McArdle, how this communication reaches you,
and you will also know the truth, in case you
never hear again from your unfortunate corre-
spondent. To-night I am too weary and too
depressed to make my plans. To-morrow I must
think out some way by which I shall keep in touch
with this camp, and yet search round for any
traces of my unhappy friends.
"A Sight which I shall Never Forget"
JUST as the sun was setting upon that melan-
choly night I saw the lonely figure of the
Indian upon the vast plain beneath me, and
I watched him, our one faint hope of salvation,
until he disappeared in the rising mists of even-
ing which lay, rose-tinted from the setting sun,
between the far-off river and me.
It was quite dark when I at last turned back to
our stricken camp, and my last vision as I went
was the red gleam of Zambo's fire, the one point
of light in the wide world below, as was his faithful
presence in my own shadowed soul. And yet I
felt happier than I had done since this crushing
blow had fallen upon me, for it was good to think
that the world should know what we had done,
so that at the worst our names should not perish
with our bodies, but should go down to posterity
associated with the result of our labors.
It was an awesome thing to sleep in that ill-
fated camp ; and yet it was even more unnerving
to do so in the jungle. One or the other it must
be. Prudence, on the one hand, warned me that
I should remain on guard, but exhausted Nature,
on the other, declared that I should do nothing
A Sight I Shall Never Forget 219
of the kind. I climbed up on to a limb of the great
gingko tree, but there was no secure perch on its
rounded surface, and I should certainly have
fallen off and broken my neck the moment I began
to doze. I got down, therefore, and pondered
over what I should do. Finally, I closed the door
of the zareba, lit three separate fires in a triangle,
and having eaten a hearty supper dropped off into
a profound sleep, from which I had a strange and
most welcome awakening. In the early morning,
just as day was breaking, a hand was laid upon
my arm, and starting up, with all my nerves in a
tingle and my hand feeling for a rifle, I gave a
cry of joy as in the cold gray light I saw Lord
John Roxton kneeling beside me.
TT was he and yet it was not he. I had left
him calm in his bearing, correct in his person,
prim in his dress. Now he was pale and wild-
eyed, gasping as he breathed like one who has run
far and fast. His gaunt face was scratched and
bloody, his clothes were hanging in rags, and his
hat was gone. I stared in amazement, but he
gave me no chance for questions. He was grab-
bing at our stores all the time he spoke.
"Quick, young fellah! Quick!" he cried.
"Every moment counts. Get the rifles, both of
them. I have the other two. Now, all the cart-
ridges you can gather. Fill up your pockets.
Now, some food. Half a dozen tins will do.
That's all right! Don't wait to talk or think.
Get a move on, or we are done!"
220 The Lost World
Still half-awake, and unable to imagine what it
all might mean, I found myself hurrying madly
after him through the wood, a rifle under each
arm and a pile of various stores in my hands. He
dodged in and out through the thickest of the
scrub until he came to a dense clump of brush-
wood. Into this he rushed, regardless of thorns,
and threw himself into the heart of it, pulling
me down by his side.
"There !" he panted. "I think we are safe here.
They'll make for the camp as sure as fate. It
will be their first idea. But this should puzzle
"What is it all?" I asked, when I had got my
breath. "Where are the professors? And who
is it that is after us?"
"The ape-men," he cried. "My God, what
brutes! Don't raise your voice, for they have
long ears sharp eyes, too, but no power of
scent, so far as I could judge, so I don't think they
can sniff us out. Where have you been, young
fellah ? You were well out of it."
In a few sentences I whispered what I had
"Pretty bad," said he, when he had heard of
the dinosaur and the pit. "It isn't quite the
place for a rest cure. What ? But I had no idea
what its possibilities were until those devils got
hold of us. The man-eatin' Papuans had me
once, but they are Chesterfields compared to this
"How did it happen?" I asked.
A Sight I Shall Never Forget 221
"TT was in the early mornin'. Our learned
friends were just stirrin'. Hadn't even begun
to argue yet. Suddenly it rained apes. They
came down as thick as apples out of a tree. They
had been assemblin' in the dark, I suppose, until
that great tree over our heads was heavy with
them. I shot one of them through the belly, but
before we knew where we were they had us spread-
eagled on our backs. I call them apes, but they
carried sticks and stones in their hands and jab-
bered talk to each other, and ended up by tyin'
our hands with creepers, so they are ahead of any
beast that I have seen in my wanderin's. Ape-
men that's what they are Missin' Links,
and I wish they had stayed missin'. They car-
ried off their wounded comrade he was bleedin*
like a pig and then they sat around us, and if
ever I saw frozen murder it was in their faces.
They were big fellows, as big as a man and a deal
stronger. Curious glassy gray eyes they have,
under red tufts, and they just sat and gloated and
gloated. Challenger is no chicken, but even he
was cowed. He managed to struggle to his feet,
and yelled out at them to have done with it and
get it over. I think he had gone a bit off his
head at the suddenness of it, for he raged and
cursed at them like a lunatic. If they had been
a row of his favorite Pressmen he could not have
slanged them worse."
"Well, what did they do?" I was enthralled
by the strange story which my companion was
whispering into my ear, while all the time his
222 The Lost World
keen eyes were shooting in every direction and
his hand grasping his cocked rifle.
"I thought it was the end of us, but instead of
that it started them on a new line. They all
jabbered and chattered together. Then one of
them stood out beside Challenger. You'll smile,
young fellah, but 'pon my word they might have
been kinsmen. I couldn't have believed it if I
hadn't seen it with my own eyes. This old ape-
man he was their chief was a sort of red
Challenger, with every one of our friend's beauty
points, only just a trifle more so. He had the
short body, the big shoulders, the round chest,
no neck, a great ruddy frill of a beard, the tufted
eyebrows, the "What do you want, damn you!'
look about the eyes, and the whole catalogue.
When the ape-man stood by Challenger and put
his paw on his shoulder, the thing was complete.
Summerlee was a bit hysterical, and he laughed
till he cried. The ape-men laughed too or at
least they put up the devil of a cacklin' - - and
they set to work to drag us off through the forest.
They wouldn't touch the guns and things
thought them dangerous, I expect but they
carried away all our loose food. Summerlee and
I got some rough handlin' on the way there's
my skin and my clothes to prove it for they
took us a bee-line through the brambles, and their
own hides are like leather. But Challenger was
all right. Four of them carried him shoulder
high, and he went like a Roman emperor. What's
A Sight I Shall Never Forget 223
It was a strange clicking noise in the distance
not unlike castanets.
"HPHERE they go!" said my companion, slip-
ping cartridges into the second double bar-
relled "Express." "Load them all up, young
fellah my lad, for we're not going to be taken
alive, and don't you think it! That's the row
they make when they are excited. By George!
they'll have something to excite them if they put
us up. The 'Last Stand of the Grays' won't be
in it. 'With their rifles grasped in their stiffened
hands, 'mid a ring of the dead and dyin',' as some
fathead sings. Can you hear them now?"
"Very far away."
"That little lot will do no good, but I expect
their search parties are all over the wood. Well,
I was telling you my tale of woe. They got us
soon to this town of theirs about a thousand
huts of branches and leaves in a great grove of
trees near the edge of the cliff. It's three or
four miles from here. The filthy beasts fingered
me all over, and I feel as if I should never
be clean again. They tied us up the fellow
who handled me could tie like a bo'sun and
there we lay with our toes up, beneath a tree,
while a great brute stood guard over us with a
club in his hand. When I say 'we' I mean Sum-
merlee and myself. Old Challenger was up a
tree, eatin' pines and havin' the time of his life.
I'm bound to say that he managed to get some
fruit to us, and with his own hands he loosened
224 The Lost World
our bonds. If you'd seen him sitting up in that
tree hob-nobbin' with his twin brother and
singin' in that rollin' bass of his, 'Ring out, wild
bells/ 'cause music of any kind seemed to put
'em in a good humor, you'd have smiled; but we
weren't in much mood for laughin', as you can
guess. They were inclined, within limits, to let
him do what he liked, but they drew the line
pretty sharply at us. It was a mighty consolation
to us all to know that you were runnin' loose and
had the archives in your keepin'.
"Well, now, young fellah, I'll tell you what will
surprise you. You say you saw signs of men,
and fires, traps, and the like. Well, we have seen
the natives themselves. Poor devils they were,
down-faced little chaps, and had enough to make
them so. It seems that the humans hold one side
of this plateau over yonder, where you saw the
caves and the ape-men hold this side, and there
is bloody war between them all the time. That's
the situation, so far as I could follow it. Well,
yesterday the ape-men got hold of a dozen of the
humans and brought them in as prisoners. You
never heard such a jabberin' and shriekin' in your
life. The men were little red fellows, and had
been bitten and clawed so that they could
hardly walk. The ape-men put two of them
to death there and then fairly pulled the arm
off one of them it was perfectly beastly. Plucky
little chaps they are, and hardly gave a squeak.
But it turned us absolutely sick. Summerlee
fainted, and even Challenger had as much as
A Sight I Shall Never Forget 225
he could stand. I think they have cleared, don't
We listened intently, but nothing save the call-
ing of the birds broke the deep peace of the forest.
Lord Roxton went on with his story.
' THINK you have had the escape of your life,
young fellah my lad. It was catchin' those
Indians that put you clean out of their heads, else
they would have been back to the camp for you
as sure as fate and gathered you in. Of course,
as you said, they have been watchin' us from the
beginnin' out of that tree, and they knew per-
fectly well that we were one short. However,
they could think only of this new haul; so it was
I, and not a bunch of apes, that dropped in on
you in the morning. Well, we had a horrid busi-
ness afterwards. My God ! what a nightmare the
whole thing is! You remember the great bristle
of sharp canes down below where we found the
skeleton of the American ? Well, that is just under
ape-town, and that's the jumpin'-off place of their
prisoners. I expect there's heaps of skeletons
there, if we looked for 'em. They have a sort of
clear parade-ground on the top, and they make
a proper ceremony about it. One by one the
poor devils have to jump, and the game is to see
whether they are merely dashed to pieces or
whether they get skewered on the canes. They
took us out to see it, and the whole tribe lined up
on the edge. Four of the Indians jumped, and
the canes went through 'em like knittin' needles
226 The Lost World
through a pat of butter. No wonder we found
that poor Yankee's skeleton with the canes grow-
in' between his ribs. It was horrible but it
was doocedly interestin' too. We were all fasci-
nated to see them take the dive, even when we
thought it would be our turn next on the spring-
"Well, it wasn't. They kept six of the Indians
up for to-day that's how I understood it
but I fancy we were to be the star performers in
the show. Challenger might get off, but Summer-
lee and I were in the bill. Their language is more
than half signs, and it was not hard to follow them.
So I thought it was time we made a break for it.
I had been plottin' it out a bit, and had one or
two things clear in my mind. It was all on me,
for Summerlee was useless and Challenger not
much better. The only time they got together
they got slangin' because they couldn't agree upon
the scientific classification of these red-headed
devils that had got hold of us. One said it was
the dryopithecus of Java, the other said it was
pithecanthropus. Madness, I call it Loonies,
both. But, as I say, I had thought out one or
two points that were helpful. One was that these
brutes could not run as fast as a man in the open.
They have short, bandy legs, you see, and heavy
bodies. Even Challenger could give a few yards
in a hundred to the best of them, and you or I
would be a perfect Shrubb. Another point was
that they knew nothin' about guns. I don't
believe they ever understood how the fellow I shot
A Sight I Shall Never Forget 227
came by his hurt. If we could get at our guns
there was no sayin' what we could do.
"So I broke away early this mornin', gave my
guard a kick in the tummy that laid him out, and
sprinted for the camp. There I got you and the
guns, and here we are."
"But the professors!" I cried, in consternation.
"Well, we must just go back and fetch 'em. I
couldn't bring 'em with me. Challenger was up
the tree, and Summerlee was not fit for the effort.
The only chance was to get the guns and try a
rescue. Of course they may scupper them at
once in revenge. I don't think they would touch
Challenger, but I wouldn't answer for Summerlee.
But they would have had him in any case. Of
that I am certain. So I haven't made matters
any worse by boltin'. But we are honor bound
to go back and have them out or see it through
with them. So you can make up your soul,
young fellah my lad, for it will be one way or the
other before evenin'."
T HAVE tried to imitate here Lord Roxton's jerky
talk, his short, strong sentences, the half-
humorous, half-reckless tone that ran through it
all. But he was a born leader. As danger thick-
ened his jaunty manner would increase, his speech
become more racy, his cold eyes glitter into ardent
life, and his Don Quixote moustache bristle with
joyous excitement. His love of danger, his in-
tense appreciation of the drama of an adventure
all the more intense for being held tightly in
228 The Lost World
his consistent view that every peril in life is a form
of sport, a fierce game betwixt you and Fate, with
Death as a forfeit, made him a wonderful com-
panion at such hours. If it were not for our fears
as to the fate of our companions, it would have
been a positive joy to throw myself with such a
man into such an affair. We were rising from
our brushwood hiding-place when suddenly I felt
his grip upon my arm.
"By George!" he whispered, "here they come!"
From where we lay we could look down a brown
aisle, arched with green, formed by the trunks
and branches. Along this a party of the ape-men
were passing. They went in single file, with bent
legs and rounded backs, their hands occasionally
touching the ground, their heads turning to left
and right as they trotted along. Their crouching
gait took away from their height, but I should
put them at five feet or so, with long arms and
enormous chests. Many of them carried sticks,
and at the distance they looked like a line of very
hairy and deformed human beings. For a mo-
ment I caught this clear glimpse of them. Then
they were lost among the bushes.
"Not this time," said Lord John, who had
caught up his rifle. "Our best chance is to lie
quiet until they have given up the search. Then
we shall see whether we can't get back to their
town and hit 'em where it hurts most. Give 'em
an hour and we'll march."
We filled in the time by opening one of our food
tins and making sure of our breakfast. Lord
A Sight I Shall Never Forget 229
Roxton had had nothing but some fruit since the
morning before and ate like a starving man.
Then, at last, our pockets bulging with cartridges
and a rifle in each hand, we started off upon our
mission of rescue. Before leaving it we carefully
marked our little hiding-place among the brush-
wood and its bearing to Fort Challenger, that we
might find it again if we needed it. We slunk
through the bushes in silence until we came to the
very edge of the cliff, close to the old camp. There
we halted, and Lord John gave me some idea of
" So long as we are among the thick trees these
swine are our masters," said he. "They can see
us and we cannot see them. But in the open it is
different/ There we can move faster than they.
So we must stick to the open all we can. The
edge of the plateau has fewer large trees than
further inland. So that's our line of advance.
Go slowly, keep your eyes open and your rifle
ready. Above all, never let them get you prisoner
while there is a cartridge left that's my last
word to you, young fellah."
When we reached the edge of the cliff I looked
over and saw our good old black Zambo sitting
smoking on a rock below us. I would have given
a great deal to have hailed him and told him how
we were placed, but it was too dangerous, lest we
should be heard. The woods seemed to be full
of the ape-men ; again and again we heard their
curious clicking chatter. At such times we
plunged into the nearest clump of bushes and lay
230 The Lost World
still until the sound had passed away. Our ad-
vance, therefore, was very slow, and two hours
at least must have passed before I saw by Lord
John's cautious movements that we must be close
to our destination. He motioned to me to lie
still, and he crawled forward himself. In a min-
ute he was back again, his face quivering with
"Come!" said he. "Come quick! I hope to
the Lord we are not too late already!"
T FOUND myself shaking with nervous excite-
ment as I scrambled forward and lay down
beside him, looking out through the bushes at a
clearing which stretched before us.
It was a sight which I shall never forget until
my dying day so weird, so impossible, that I do
not know how I am to make you realize it, or how
in a few years I shall bring myself to believe in it
if I live to sit once more on a lounge in the Savage
Club and look out on the drab solidity of the
Embankment. I know that it will seem then to
be some wild nightmare, some delirium of fever.
Yet I will set it down now, while it is still fresh in
my memory, and one at least, the man who lay
in the damp grasses by my side, will know if I
A wide, open space lay before us some hun-
dreds of yards across all green turf and low
bracken growing to the very edge of the cliff.
Round this clearing there was a semi-circle of
trees with curious huts built of foliage piled one
A Sight I Shall Never Forget 231
above the other among the branches. A rookery,
with every nest a little house, would best convey
the idea. The openings of these huts and the
branches of the trees were thronged with a dense
mob of ape-people, whom from their size I took
to be the females and infants of the tribe. They
formed the background of the picture, and were
all looking out with eager interest at the same
scene which fascinated and bewildered us.
In the open, and near the edge of the cliff, there
had assembled a crowd of some hundred of these
shaggy, red-haired creatures, many of them of
immense size, and all of them horrible to look
upon. There was a certain discipline among them,
for none of them attempted to break the line which
had been formed. In front there stood a small
group of Indians little, clean-limbed, red fellows,
whose skins glowed like polished bronze in the
strong sunlight. A tall, thin white man was
standing beside them, his head bowed, his arms
folded, his whole attitude expressive of his hor-
ror and dejection. There was no mistaking the
angular form of Professor Summerlee.
In front of and around this dejected group of
prisoners were several ape-men, who watched
them closely and made all escape impossible.
Then, right out from all the others and close to
the edge of the cliff, were two figures, so strange,
and under other circumstances so ludicrous, that
they absorbed my attention. The one was our
comrade, Professor Challenger. The remains of
his coat still hung in strips from his shoulders, but
232 The Lost World
his shirt had been all torn out, and his great beard
merged itself in the black tangle which covered
his mighty chest. He had lost his hat, and his
hair, which had grown long in our wanderings,
was flying in wild disorder. A single day seemed
to have changed him from the highest product of
modern civilization to the most desperate savage
in South America. Beside him stood his master,
the king of the ape-men. In all things he was, as
Lord John had said, the very image of our Pro-
fessor, save that his coloring was red instead of
black. The same short, broad figure, the same
heavy shoulders, the same forward hang of the
arms, the same bristling beard merging itself in
the hairy chest. Only above the eyebrows, where
the sloping forehead and low, curved skull of the
ape-man were in sharp contrast to the broad brow
and magnificent cranium of the European, could
one see any marked difference. At every other
point the king was an absurd parody of the
A LL this, which takes me so long to describe,
impressed itself upon me in a few seconds.
Then we had very different things to think of, for
an active drama was in progress. Two of the ape-
men had seized one of the Indians out of the
group and dragged him forward to the edge of the
cliff. The king raised his hand as a signal. They
caught the man by his leg and arm, and swung
him three times backwards and forwards with
tremendous violence. Then, with a frightful heave
TWO OF HIS GUARDS CAUGHT HIM BY THE WRISTS AND
PULLED HIM BRUTALLY TO THE FRONT
A Sight I Shall Never Forget 233
they shot the poor wretch over the precipice.
With such force did they throw him that he
curved high in the air before beginning to drop. As
he vanished from sight, the whole assembly, ex-
cept the guards, rushed forward to the edge of
the precipice, and there was a long pause of abso-
lute silence, broken by a mad yell of delight.
They sprang about, tossing their long, hairy arms
in the air and howling with exultation. Then
they fell back from the edge, formed themselves
again into line, and waited for the next victim.
This time it was Summerlee. Two of his
guards caught him by the wrists and pulled him
brutally to the front. His thin figure and long
limbs struggled and fluttered like a chicken being
dragged from a coop. Challenger had turned to
the king and waved his hands frantically before
him. He was begging, pleading, imploring for his
comrade's life. The ape-man pushed him roughly
aside and shook his head. It was the last con-
scious movement he was to make upon earth.
Lord John's rifle cracked, and the king sank down,
a tangled red sprawling thing, upon the ground.
" Shoot into the thick of them ! Shoot ! sonny,
shoot!" cried my companion.
'T'HERE are strange red depths in the soul of
the most commonplace man. I am tender-
hearted by nature, and have found my eyes moist
many a time over the scream of a wounded hare.
Yet the blood lust was on me now. I found my-
self on my feet emptying one magazine, then the
234 The Lost World
other, clicking open the breech to re-load, snapping
it to again, while cheering and yelling with pure
ferocity and joy of slaughter as I did so. With
our four guns the two of us made a horrible havoc.
Both the guards who held Summerlee were down,
and he was staggering about like a drunken man
in his amazement, unable to realize that he was a
free man. The dense mob of ape-men ran about
in bewilderment, marveling whence this storm
of death was coming or what it might mean.
They waved, gesticulated, screamed, and tripped
up over those who had fallen. Then, with a
sudden impulse, they all rushed in a howling crowd
to the trees for shelter, leaving the ground behind
them spotted with their stricken comrades. The
prisoners were left for the moment standing alone
in the middle of the clearing.
Challenger's quick brain had grasped the situa-
tion. He seized the bewildered Summerlee by
the arm, and they both ran towards us. Two of
their guards bounded after them and fell to two
bullets from Lord John. We ran forward into
the open to meet our friends, and pressed a loaded
rifle into the hands of each. But Summerlee was
at the end of his strength. He could hardly totter.
Already the ape-men were recovering from their
panic. They were coming through the brushwood
and threatening to cut us off. Challenger and
I ran Summerlee along, one at each of his elbows,
while Lord John covered our retreat, firing again
and again as savage heads snarled at us out of the
bushes. For a mile or more the chattering brutes
A Sight I Shall Never Forget 235
were at our very heels. Then the pursuit slack-
ened, for they learned our power and would no
longer face that unerring rifle. When we had at
last reached the camp, we looked back and found
CO it seemed to us; and yet we were mistaken.
We had hardly closed the thornbush door of
our zareba, clasped each other's hands, and thrown
ourselves panting upon the ground beside our
spring, when we heard a patter of feet and then a
gentle, plaintive crying from outside our entrance.
Lord Roxton rushed forward, rifle in hand, and
threw it open. There, prostrate upon their faces,
lay the little red figures of the four surviving
Indians, trembling with fear of us and yet implor-
ing our protection. With an expressive sweep
of his hands one of them pointed to the woods
around them, and indicated that they were full
of danger. Then, darting forward, he threw his
arms round Lord John's legs, and rested his face
"By George!" cried our peer, pulling at his
moustache in great perplexity, "I say what the
deuce are we to do with these people? Get up,
little chappie, and take your face off my boots."
Summerlee was sitting up and stuffing some
tobacco into his old briar.
"We've got to see them safe," said he. "You've
pulled us all out of the jaws of death. My word!
it was a good bit of work!"
"Admirable!" cried Challenger. "Admirable!
236 The Lost World
Not only we as individuals, but European science
collectively, owe you a deep debt of gratitude for
what you have done. I do not hesitate to say
that the disappearance of Professor Summerlee
and myself would have left an appreciable gap in
modern zoological history. Our young friend here
and you have done most excellently well."
He beamed at us with the old paternal smile,
but European science would have been somewhat
amazed could they have seen their chosen child,
the hope of the future, with his tangled, unkempt
head, his bare chest, and his tattered clothes. He
had one of the meat-tins between his knees, and
sat with a large piece of cold Australian mutton
between his fingers. The Indian looked up at
him, and then, with a little yelp, cringed to the
ground and clung to Lord John's leg.
"Don't you be scared, my bonnie boy," said
Lord John, patting the matted head in front of
him. "He can't stick your appearance, Chal-
lenger; and, by George! I don't wonder. All
right, little chap, he's only a human, just the same
as the rest of us."
"Really, sir!" cried the Professor.
"Well, it's lucky for you, Challenger, that you
are a little out of the ordinary. If you hadn't
been so like the king "
"Upon my word, Lord John, you allow your-
self great latitude."
"Well, it's a fact."
"I beg, sir, that you will change the subject.
Your remarks are irrelevant and unintelligible.
A Sight I Shall Never Forget 237
The question before us is what are we to do with
these Indians? The obvious thing is to escort
them home, if we knew where their home was."
"There is no difficulty about that/' said I.
"They live in the caves on the other side of the
"Our young friend here knows where they live.
I gather that it is some distance."
"A good twenty miles," said I.
Summerlee gave a groan.
"I, for one, could never get there. Surely I
hear those brutes still howling upon our track."
As he spoke, from the dark recesses of the woods
we heard far away the jibbering cry of the ape-
men. The Indians once more set up a feeble wail
"We must move, and move quick!" said Lord
John. "You help Summerlee, young fellah.
These Indians will carry stores. Now, then,
come along before they can see us."
TN less than half-an-hour we had reached our
brushwood retreat and concealed ourselves.
All day we heard the excited calling of the ape-
men in the direction of our old camp, but none
of them came our way, and the tired fugitives, red
and white, had a long, deep sleep. I was dozing
myself in the evening when someone plucked my
sleeve, and I found Challenger kneeling beside me.
"You keep a diary of these events, and you
expect eventually to publish it, Mr. Malone," said
he, with solemnity.
238 The Lost World
i "I am only here as a Press reporter," I answered.
"Exactly. You may have heard some rather
fatuous remarks of Lord John Roxton's which
seemed to imply that there was some some
r 'Yes, I heard them."
"I need not say that any publicity given to
such an idea any levity in your narrative of
what occurred would be exceedingly offensive
I "I will keep well within the truth."
"Lord John's observations are frequently ex-
ceedingly fanciful, and he is capable of attribut-
ing the most absurd reasons to the respect which
is always shown by the most undeveloped races to
dignity and character. You follow my meaning ?"
"I leave the matter to your discretion." Then,
after a long pause, he added: "The king of the
ape-men was really a creature of great distinction
a mostTremarkably handsome and intelligent
personality. Did it not strike you?"
"A most remarkable creature," said I.
And the Professor, much eased in his mind,
settled down to his slumber once more.
"Those Were the Real Conquests"
WE had imagined that our pursuers, the
ape-men, knew nothing of our brush-
wood hiding-place, but we were soon
to find out our mistake. There was no sound in
the woods not a leaf moved upon the trees, and
all was peace around us but we should have
been warned by our first experience how cunningly
and how patiently these creatures can watch and
wait until their chance comes. Whatever fate
may be mine through life, I am very sure that I
shall never be nearer death than I was that morn-
ing. But I will tell you the thing in its due order.
We all awoke exhausted after the terrific emo-
tions and scanty food of yesterday. Summerlee
was still so weak that it was an effort for him to
stand ; but the old man was full of a sort of surly
courage which would never admit defeat. A
council was held, and it was agreed that we should
wait quietly for an hour or two where we were,
have our much-needed breakfast, and then make
our way across the plateau and round the central
lake to the caves where my observations had shown
that the Indians lived. We relied upon the fact
that we could count upon the good word of those
whom we had rescued to ensure a warm welcome
240 The Lost World
from their fellows. Then, with our mission ac-
complished and possessing a fuller knowledge of
the secrets of Maple White Land, we should turn
our whole thoughts to the vital problem of our
escape and return. Even Challenger was ready
to admit that we should then have done all for
which we had come, and that our first duty from
that time onwards was to carry back to civilization
the amazing discoveries we had made.
We were able now to take a more leisurely view
of the Indians whom we had rescued. They were
small men, wiry, active, and well-built, with lank
black hair tied up in a bunch behind their heads
with a leathern thong, and leathern also were
their loin-clothes. Their faces were hairless, well
formed, and good-humored. The lobes of their
ears, hanging ragged and bloody, showed that
they had been pierced for some ornaments which
their captors had torn out. Their speech, though
unintelligible to us, was fluent among themselves,
and as they pointed to each other and uttered the
word "Accala" many times over, we gathered
that this was the name of the nation. Occasion-
ally, with faces which were convulsed with fear
and hatred, they shook their clenched hands at
the woods round and cried: "Doda! Doda!"
which was surely their term for their enemies.
do you make of them, Challenger?"
asked Lord John. "One thing is very clear
to me, and that is that the little chap with the
front of his head shaved is a chief among them. 5 *
Those Were the Real Conquests 241
It was indeed evident that this man stood apart
from the others, and that they never ventured to
address him without every sign of deep respect.
He seemed to be the youngest of them all, and yet,
so proud and high was his spirit that, upon Chal-
! lenger laying his great hand upon his head, he
started like a spurred horse and, with a quick flash
of his dark eyes, moved further away from the
Professor. Then, placing his hand upon his breast
and holding himself with great dignity, he uttered
the word "Maretas" several times. The Pro-
fessor, unabashed, seized the nearest Indian by
the shoulder and proceeded to lecture upon him
as if he were a potted specimen in a class-room.
"The type of these people/' said he in his sono-
rous fashion, "whether judged by cranial capacity,
facial angle, or any other test, cannot be regarded
as a low one; on the contrary, we must place it as
considerably higher in the scale than many South
American tribes which I can mention. On no
possible supposition can we explain the evolution
of such a race in this place. For that matter, so
great a gap separates these ape-men from the
primitive animals which have survived upon this
plateau, that it is inadmissible to think that they
could have developed where we find them."
"Then where the dooce did they drop from?"
asked Lord John.
"A question which will, no doubt, be eagerly
discussed in every scientific society in Europe and
America," the Professor answered. "My own
reading of the situation for what it is worth "
242 The Lost World
he inflated his chest enormously and looked inso-
lently around him at the words "is that evolu-
tion has advanced under the peculiar conditions
of this country up to the vertebrate stage, the old
types surviving and living on in company with
the newer ones. Thus we find such modern
creatures as the tapir an animal with quite a
respectable length of pedigree the great deer,
and the ant-eater in the companionship of rep-
tilian forms of Jurassic type. So much is clear.
And now come the ape-men and the Indian.
'What is the scientific mind to think of their
presence ? I can only account for it by an inva-
sion from outside. It is probable that there
existed an anthropoid ape in South America, who
in past ages found his way to this place, and that
he developed into the creatures we have seen,
some of which " here he looked hard at me
"were of an appearance and shape which, if it
had been accompanied by corresponding intelli-
gence, would, I do not hesitate to say, have
reflected credit upon any living race. As to the
Indians I cannot doubt that they are more recent
immigrants from below. Under the stress of
famine or of conquest they have made their way
up here. Faced by ferocious creatures which
they had never before seen, they took refuge in
the caves which our young friend has described,
but they have no doubt had a bitter fight to hold
their own against wild beasts, and especially
against the ape-men who would regard them as in-
truders, and wage a merciless war upon them with a
Those Were the Real Conquests 243
cunning which the larger beasts would lack. Hence
the fact that their numbers appear to be limited.
Well, gentlemen, have I read you the riddle aright,
or is there any point which you would query?"
Professor Summerlee for once was too depressed
to argue, though he shook his head violently as a
token of general disagreement. Lord John merely
scratched his scanty locks with the remark that
he couldn't put up a fight as he wasn't in the same
weight or class. For my own part I performed
my usual role of bringing things down to a strictly
prosaic and practical level by the remark that one
of the Indians was missing.
has gone to fetch some water," said Lord
Roxton. "We fitted him up with an empty
beef tin and he is off."
"To the old camp?" I asked.
"No, to the brook. It's among the trees there.
It can't be more than a couple of hundred yards.
But the beggar is certainly taking his time."
"I'll go and look after him," said I. I picked
up my rifle and strolled in the direction of the
brook, leaving my friends to lay out the scanty
breakfast. It may seem to you rash that even
for so short a distance I should quit the shelter of
our friendly thicket, but you will remember that
we were many miles from Ape-town, that so far
as we knew the creatures had not discovered our
retreat, and that in any case with a rifle in my
hands I had no fear of them. I had not yet
learned their cunning or their strength.
244 The Lost World
I could hear the murmur of our brook some-
where ahead of me, but there was a tangle of trees
and brushwood between me and it. I was mak-
ing my way through this at a point which was just
out of sight of my companions, when, under one
of the trees, I noticed something red huddled
among the bushes. As I approached it, I was
shocked to see that it was the dead body of the
missing Indian. He lay upon his side, his limbs
drawn up, and his head screwed round at a most
unnatural angle, so that he seemed to be looking
straight over his own shoulder. I gave a cry to
warn my friends that something was amiss, and
running forwards I stooped over the body. Surely
my guardian angel was very near me then, for
some instinct of fear, or it may have been some
faint rustle of leaves, made me glance upwards.
Out of the thick green foliage which hung low over
my head, two long muscular arms covered with
reddish hair were slowly descending. Another
instant and the great stealthy hands would have
been round my throat. I sprang backwards,
but quick as I was, those hands were quicker still.
Through my sudden spring they missed a fatal
grip, but one of them caught the back of my neck
and the other one my face. I threw my hands up
to protect my throat, and the next moment the
huge paw had slid down my face and closed over
them. I was lifted lightly from the ground, and
I felt an intolerable pressure forcing my head
back and back until the strain upon the cervical
spine was more than I could bear. My senses
Those Were the Real Conquests 245
swam, but I still tore at the hand and forced it
out from my chin. Looking up I saw a frightful
face with cold inexorable light blue eyes looking
down into mine. There was something hypnotic
in those terrible eyes. I could struggle no longer.
As the creature felt me grow limp in his grasp,
two white canines gleamed for a moment at each
side of the vile mouth, and the grip tightened still
more upon my chin, forcing it always upwards
and back. A thin, oval-tinted mist formed before
my eyes and little silvery bells tinkled in my ears.
Dully and far off I heard the crack of a rifle and
was feebly aware of the shock as I was dropped
to the earth, where I lay without sense or
T AWOKE to find myself on my back upon the
grass in our lair within the thicket. Someone
had brought the water from the brook, and Lord
John was sprinkling my head with it, while Chal-
lenger and Summerlee were propping me up, with
concern in their faces. For a moment I had a
glimpse of the human spirits behind their scien-
tific masks. It was really shock, rather than any
injury, which had prostrated me, and in half-an-
hour, in spite of aching head and stiff neck, I was
sitting up and ready for anything.
" But you've had the escape of your life, young
fellah my lad," said Lord Roxton. "When I
heard your cry and ran forward, and saw your
head twisted half-off and your stohwassers kickin'
in the air, I thought we were one short. I missed
246 The Lost World
the beast in my flurry, but he dropped you all
right and was off like a streak. By George! I
wish I had fifty men with rifles. I'd clear out
the whole infernal gang of them and leave this
country a bit cleaner than we found it."
It was clear now that the ape-men had in some
way marked us down, and that we were watched
on every side. We had not so much to fear from
them during the day, but they would be very
likely to rush us by night; so the sooner we got
away from their neighborhood the better. On
three sides of us was absolute forest, and there we
might find ourselves in an ambush. But on the
fourth side that which sloped down in the
direction of the lake there was only low scrub,
with scattered trees and occasional open glades.
It was, in fact, the route which I had myself
taken in my solitary journey, and it led us straight
for the Indian caves. This then must for every
reason be our road.
One great regret we had, and that was to leave
our old camp behind us, not only for the sake of
the stores which remained there, but even more
because we were losing touch with Zambo, our
link with the outside world. However, we had a
fair supply of cartridges and all our guns, so, for
a time at least, we could look after ourselves, and
we hoped soon to have a chance of returning and
restoring our communications with our negro.
He had faithfully promised to stay where he was,
and we had not a doubt that he would be as good
as his word.
Those Were the Real Conquests 247
TT was in the early afternoon that we started
upon our journey. The young chief walked
at our head as our guide, but refused indignantly
to carry any burden. Behind him came the two
surviving Indians with our scanty possessions
upon their backs. We four white men walked
in the rear with rifles loaded and ready. As we
started there broke from the thick silent woods
behind us a sudden great ululation of the ape-men,
which may have been a cheer of triumph at our
departure or a jeer of contempt at our flight.
Looking back we saw only the dense screen of
trees, but that long-drawn yell told us how many
of our enemies lurked among them. We saw no
sign of pursuit, however, and soon we had got
into more open country and beyond their power.
As I tramped along, the rearmost of the four, I
could not help smiling at the appearance of my
three companions in front. Was this the luxurious
Lord John Roxton who had sat that evening in
the Albany amidst his Persian rugs and his pictures
in the pink radiance of the tinted lights? And
was this the imposing Professor who had swelled
behind the great desk in his massive study at
Enmore Park? And, finally, could this be the
austere and prim figure which had risen before
the meeting at the Zoological Institute ? No three
tramps that one could have met in a Surrey lane
could have looked more hopeless and bedraggled.
We had, it is true, been only a week or so upon
the top of the plateau, but all our spare clothing
was in our camp below, and the one week had
248 The Lost World
been a severe one upon us all, though least to me
who had not to endure the handling of the ape-
men. My three friends had all lost their hats, and
had now bound handkerchiefs round their heads,
their clothes hung in ribbons about them, and
their unshaven grimy faces were hardly to be
recognized. Both Summerlee and Challenger
were limping heavily, while I still dragged my
feet from weakness after the shock of the morning,
and my neck was as stiff as a board from the mur-
derous grip that held it. We were indeed a sorry
crew, and I did not wonder to see our Indian com-
panions glance back at us occasionally with horror
and amazement on their faces.
TN the late afternoon we reached the margin of
the lake, and as we emerged from the bush
and saw the sheet of water stretching before us
our native friends set up a shrill cry of joy and
pointed eagerly in front of them. It was indeed
a wonderful sight which lay before us. Sweeping
over the glassy surface was a great flotilla of
canoes coming straight for the shore upon which
we stood. They were some miles out when we
first saw them, but they shot forward with great
swiftness, and were soon so near that the rowers
could distinguish our persons. Instantly a thun-
derous shout of delight burst from them, and we
saw them rise from their seats, waving their
paddles and spears madly in the air. Then
bending to their work once more, they flew across
the intervening water, beached their boats upon
Those Were the Real Conquests 249
the sloping sand, and rushed up to us, prostrating
themselves with loud cries of greeting before the
young chief. Finally one of them, an elderly
man, with a necklace and bracelet of great lustrous
glass beads and the skin of some beautiful mottled
amber-colored animal slung over his shoulders,
ran forward and embraced most tenderly the
youth whom we had saved. He then looked at
us and asked some questions, after which he
stepped up with much dignity and embraced us
also each in turn. Then, at his order, the whole
tribe lay down upon the ground before us in
homage. Personally I felt shy and uncomfort-
able at this obsequious adoration, and I read the
same feeling in the faces of Roxton and Summerlee,
but Challenger expanded like a flower in the sun.
"They may be undeveloped types," said he,
stroking his beard and looking round at them,
"but their deportment in the presence of their
superiors might be a lesson to some of our more
advanced Europeans. Strange how correct are
the instincts of the natural man!"
IT was clear that the natives had come out upon
the war-path, for every man carried his spear
a long bamboo tipped with bone his bow and
arrows, and some sort of club or stone battle-axe
slung at his side. Their dark, angry glances at
the woods frcm which we had come, and the fre-
quent repetition of the word "Doda," made it
clear enough that this was a rescue party who had
set forth to save or revenge the old chiefs son,
250 The Lost World
for such we gathered that the youth must be.
A council was now held by the whole tribe squat-
ting in a circle, whilst we sat near on a slab of
basalt and watched their proceedings. Two or
three warriors spoke, and finally our young friend
made a spirited harangue with such eloquent
features and gestures that we could understand it
all as clearly as if we had known his language.
"What is the use of returning?" he said.
"Sooner or later the thing must be done. Your
comrades have been murdered. What if I have
returned safe? These others have been done to
death. There is no safety for any of us. We
are assembled now and ready." Then he pointed
to us. "These strange men are our friends.
They are great fighters, and they hate the ape-
men even as we do. They command," here he
pointed up to heaven, "the thunder and the light-
ning. When shall we have such a chance again?
Let us go forward, and either die now or live for
the future in safety. How else shall we go back
unashamed to our women?"
The little red warriors hung upon the words of
the speaker, and when he had finished they burst
into a roar of applause, waving their rude weapons
in the air. The old chief stepped forward to us,
and asked us some questions, pointing at the same
time to the woods. Lord John made a sign to
him that he should wait for an answer and then
he turned to us.
"Well, it's up to you to say what you will do,"
said he; "for my part I have a score to settle with
Those Were the Real Conquests 251
these monkey-folk, and if it ends by wiping them
off the face of the earth I don't see that the earth
need fret about it. I'm goin' with our little red
pals and I mean to see them through the scrap.
What do you say, young fellah?"
"Of course I will come."
"And you, Challenger?"
"I will assuredly co-operate.'*
"And you, Summerlee?"
"We seem to be drifting very far from the object
of this expedition, Lord John. I assure you that
I little thought when I left my professional chair
in London that it was for the purpose of heading a
raid of savages upon a colony of anthropoid apes."
"To such base uses do we come," said Lord
John, smiling. "But we are up against it, so
what's the decision?"
"It seems a most questionable step," said Sum-
merlee, argumentative to the last, "but if you are
all going, I hardly see how I can remain behind."
"Then it is settled," said Lord John, and turn-
ing to the chief he nodded and slapped his rifle, i
TPHE old fellow clasped our hands, each in turn,
while his men cheered louder than ever. It
was too late to advance that night, so the Indians
settled down into a rude bivouac. On all sides
their fires began to glimmer and smoke. Some of
them who had disappeared into the jungle came
back presently driving a young iguanodon before
them. Like the others, it had a daub of asphalt
upon its shoulder, and it was only when we saw
252 The Lost World
one of the natives step forward with the air of an
owner and give his consent to the beast's slaughter
that we understood at last that these great crea-
tures were as much private property as a herd of
cattle, and that these symbols which had so
perplexed us were nothing more than the marks
of the owner. Helpless, torpid, and vegetarian,
with great limbs but a minute brain, they could
be rounded up and driven by a child. In a few
minutes the huge beast had been cut up and slabs
of him were hanging over a dozen camp fires,
together with great scaly ganoid fish which had
been speared in the lake.
Summerlee had lain down and slept upon the
sand, but we others roamed round the edge of the
water, seeking to learn something more of this
strange country. Twice we found pits of blue
clay, such as we had already seen in the swamp
of the pterodactyls. These were old volcanic
vents, and for some reason excited the greatest
interest in Lord John. What attracted Chal-
lenger, on the other hand, was a bubbling, gurg-
ling mud geyser, where some strange gas formed
great bursting bubbles upon the surface. He
thrust a hollow reed into it and cried out with
delight like a schoolboy when he was able, on
touching it with a lighted match, to cause a sharp
explosion and a blue flame at the far end of the
tube. Still more pleased was he when, inverting
a leathern pouch over the end of the reed, and so
filling it with the gas, he was able to send it soar-
ing up into the air.
Those Were the Real Conquests 253
"An inflammable gas, and one markedly lighter
than the atmosphere. I should say beyond doubt
that it contained a considerable proportion of free
hydrogen. The resources of G. E. C. are not yet
exhausted, my young friend. I may yet show
you how a great mind molds all Nature to its
use/ 5 He swelled with some secret purpose, but
would say no more.
There was nothing which we could see upon the
shore which seemed to me so wonderful as the
great sheet of water before us. Our numbers and
our noise had frightened all living creatures away,
and save for a few pterodactyls, which soared
round high above our heads while they waited
for the carrion, all was still around the camp.
But it was different out upon the rose-tinted
waters of the central lake. It boiled and heaved
with strange life. Great slate-colored backs and
high serrated dorsal fins shot up with a fringe of
silver, and then rolled down into the depths again.
The sand-banks far out were spotted with uncouth
crawling forms, huge turtles, strange saurians, and
one great flat creature like a writhing, palpitating
mat of black greasy leather, which flopped its way
slowly to the lake. Here and there high serpent
heads projected out of the water, cutting swiftly
through it with a little collar of foam in front, and
a long swirling wake behind, rising and falling
in graceful, swan-like undulations as they went.
It was not until one of these creatures wriggled
on to a sand-bank within a few hundred yards of
us, and exposed a barrel-shaped body and huge
254 The Lost World
flippers behind the long serpent neck, that Chal-
lenger, and Summerlee, who had joined us, broke
out into their duet of wonder and admiration.
" Plesiosaurus ! A fresh-water plesiosaurus!"
cried Summerlee. "That I should have lived to
see such a sight! We are blessed, my dear Chal-
lenger, above all zoologists since the world began!"
It was not until the night had fallen, and the
fires of our savage allies glowed red in the shadows,
that our two men of science could be dragged
away from the fascinations of that primeval lake.
Even in the darkness as we lay upon the strand,
we heard from time to time the snort and plunge
of the huge creatures who lived therein.
AT earliest dawn our camp was astir and an hour
later we had started upon our memorable
expedition. Often in my dreams have I thought
that I might live to be a war correspondent. In
what wildest one could I have conceived the nature
of the campaign which it should be my lot to
report! Here then is my first despatch from a
field of battle:
Our numbers had been reinforced during the
night by a fresh batch of natives from the caves,
and we may have been four or five hundred strong
when we made our advance. A fringe of scouts
was thrown out in front, and behind them the
whole force in a solid column made their way up
the long slope of the bush country until we were
near the edge of the forest. Here they spread out
into a long straggling line of spearmen and bow-
Those Were the Real Conquests 255
men. Roxton and Summerlee took their position
upon the right flank, while Challenger and I were
on the left. It was a host of the stone age that
we were accompanying to battle we with the
last word of the gunsmith's art from St. James'
Street and the Strand.
We had not long to wait for our enemy. A wild
shrill clamor rose from the edge of the wood and
suddenly a body of ape-men rushed out with clubs
and stones, and made for the center of the Indian
line. It was a valiant move but a foolish one, for
the great bandy-legged creatures were slow of foot,
while their opponents were as active as cats. It
was horrible to see the fierce brutes with foaming
mouths and glaring eyes, rushing and grasping,
but forever missing their elusive enemies, while
arrow after arrow buried itself in their hides.
One great fellow ran past me roaring with pain,
with a dozen darts sticking from his chest and
ribs. In mercy I put a bullet through his skull,
and he fell sprawling among the aloes. But this
was the only shot fired, for the attack had been on
the center of the line, and the Indians there had
needed no help of ours in repulsing it. Of all
the ape-men who had rushed out into the open,
I do not think that one got back to cover.
But the matter was more deadly when we came
among the trees. For an hour or more after we
entered the wood, there was a desperate struggle
in which for a time we hardly held our own.
Springing out from among the scrub the ape-men
with huge clubs broke in upon the Indians and
256 The Lost World
often felled three or four of them before they could
be speared. Their frightful blows shattered every-
thing upon which they fell. One of them knocked
Summerlee's rifle to matchwood and the next
would have crushed his skull had an Indian not
stabbed the beast to the heart. Other ape-men
in the trees above us hurled down stones and logs
of wood, occasionally dropping bodily on to our
ranks and fighting furiously until they were
felled. Once our allies broke under the pressure,
and had it not been for the execution done by our
rifles they would certainly have taken to their
heels. But they were gallantly rallied by their
old chief and came on with such a rush that the
ape-men began in turn to give way. Summerlee
was weaponless, but I was emptying my maga-
zine as quick as I could fire, and on the further
flank we heard the continuous cracking of our
TPHEN in a moment came the panic and the
collapse. Screaming and howling, the great
creatures rushed away in all directions through
the brushwood, while our allies yelled in their
savage delight, following swiftly after their flying
enemies. All the feuds of countless generations,
all the hatreds and cruelties of their narrow his-
tory, all the memories of ill-usage and persecution
were to be purged that day. At last man was to
be supreme and the man-beast to find forever
his allotted place. Fly as they would the fugi-
tives were too slow to escape from the active
Those Were the Real Conquests 257
savages, and from every side in the tangled woods
we heard the exultant yells, the twanging of bows,
and the crash and thud as ape-men were brought
down from their hiding-places in the trees.
I was following the others, when I found that
Lord John and Challenger had come across to
"It's over," said Lord John. "I think we can
leave the tidying up to them. Perhaps the less
we see of it the better we shall sleep."
Challenger's eyes were shining with the lust of
"We have been privileged," he cried, strutting
about like a gamecock, "to be present at one of
the typical decisive battles of history the battles
which have determined the fate of the world.
What, my friends, is the conquest of one nation by
another? It is meaningless. Each produces the
same result. But those fierce fights, when in the
dawn of the ages the cave-dwellers held their own
against the tiger folk, or the elephants first found
that they had a master, those were the real con-
quests the victories that count. By this strange
turn of fate we have seen and helped to decide
even such a contest. Now upon this plateau the
future must ever be for man."
It needed a robust faith in the end to justify
such tragic means. As we advanced together
through the woods we found the ape-men lying
thick, transfixed with spears or arrows. Here and
there a little group of shattered Indians marked
where one of the anthropoids had turned to bay,
258 The Lost World
and sold his life dearly. Always in front of us we
heard the yelling and roaring which showed the
direction of the pursuit. The ape-men had been
driven back to their city, they had made a last
stand there, once again they had been broken, and
now we were in time to see the final fearful scene
of all. Some eighty or a hundred males, the last
survivors, had been driven across that same little
clearing which led to the edge of the cliff, the scene
of our own exploit two days before. As we ar-
rived the Indians, a semicircle of spearmen, had
closed in on them, and in a minute it was over.
Thirty or forty died where they stood. The
others, screaming and clawing, were thrust over
the precipice, and went hurtling down, as their
prisoners had of old, on to the sharp bamboos six
hundred feet below. It was as Challenger had
said, and the reign of man was assured forever in
Maple White Land. The males were extermi-
nated, Ape Town was destroyed, the females and
young were driven away to live in bondage, and
the long rivalry of untold centuries had reached
its bloody end.
For us the victory brought much advantage.
Once again we were able to visit our camp and
get at our stores. Once more also we were able
to communicate with Zambo, who had been
terrified by the spectacle from afar of an avalanche
of apes falling from the edge of the cliff.
"Come away, Massas, come away!" he cried,
his eyes starting from his head. "The debbil get
you sure if you stay up there/'
Those Were the Real Conquests 259
"It is the voice of sanity!" said Summerlee
with conviction. "We haye had adventures
enough and they are neither suitable to our char-
acter or our position. I hold you to your word,
Challenger. From now onwards you devote your
energies to getting us out of this horrible country
and back once more to civilization."
"Our Eyes have seen Great Wonders"
I WRITE this from day to day, but I trust that
before I come to the end of it, I may be able
to say that the light shines, at last, through
our clouds. We are held here with no clear means
of making our escape, and bitterly we chafe against
it. Yet, I can well imagine that the day may
come when we may be glad that we were kept,
against our will, to see something more of the
wonders of this singular place, and of the creatures
who inhabit it.
The victory of the Indians and the annihilation
of the ape-men, marked the turning point of our
fortunes. From then onwards, we were in truth
masters of the plateau, for the natives looked upon
us with a mixture of fear and gratitude, since by
our strange powers we had aided jthem to destroy
their hereditary foe. For their own sakes they
would, perhaps, be glad to see the departure of
such formidable and incalculable people, but they
have not themselves suggested any way by which
we may reach the plains below. There had been,
so far as we could follow their signs, a tunnel by
which the place could be approached, the lower
exit of which we had seen from below. By this,
"DON'T YOU THINK ALL THIS IS A
LITTLE TOO PERSONAL"
Our Eyes Have Seen Wonders 261
no doubt, both ape-men and Indians had at
different epochs reached the top, and Maple
White with his companion had taken the same
way. Only the year before, however, there had
been a terrific earthquake, and the upper end of
the tunnel had fallen in and completely disap-
peared. The Indians now could only shake their
heads and shrug their shoulders when we expressed
by signs our desire to descend. It may be that
they cannot, but it may also be that they will not,
help us to get away.
At the end of the victorious campaign the sur-
viving ape-folk were driven across the plateau
(their wailings were horrible) and established in
the neighborhood of the Indian caves, where they
would, from now onwards, be a servile race under
the eyes of their masters. It was a rude, raw,
primeval version of the Jews in Babylon or the
Israelites in Egypt. At night we could hear from
amid the trees the long-drawn cry, as some prim-
itive Ezekiel mourned for fallen greatness and re-
called the departed glories of Ape Town. Hewers
of wood and drawers of water, such were they
from now onwards.
had returned across the plateau with our
allies two days after the battle, and made
our camp at the foot of their cliffs. They would
have had us share their caves with them, but
Lord John would by no means consent to it, con-
sidering that to do so would put us in their power
if they were treacherously disposed. We kept
262 The Lost World
our independence, therefore, and had our weapons
ready for any emergency, while preserving the
most friendly relations. We also continually
visited their caves, which were most remarkable
places, though whether made by man or by Nature
we have never been able to determine. They
were all on the one stratum, hollowed out of some
soft rock which lay between the volcanic basalt
forming the ruddy cliffs above them, and the hard
granite which formed their base.
The openings were about eighty feet above the
ground, and were led up to by long stone stairs,
so narrow and steep that no large animal could
mount them. Inside they were warm and dry,
running in straight passages of varying length
into the side of the hill, with smooth gray walls
decorated with many excellent pictures done with
charred sticks and representing the various animals
of the plateau. If every living thing were swept
from the country the future explorer would find
upon the walls of these caves ample evidence of
the strange fauna the dinosaurs, iguanodons,
and fish lizards which had lived so recently
Since we had learned that the huge iguanodons
were kept as tame herds by their owners, and were
simply walking meat-stores, we had conceived
that man, even with his primitive weapons, had
established his ascendancy upon the plateau.
We were soon to discover that it was not so, and
that he was still there upon tolerance.
Our Eyes Have Seen Wonders 263
TT was on the third day after our forming our
camp near the Indian caves that the tragedy
occurred. Challenger and Summerlee had gone
off together that day to the lake where some of
the natives, under their direction, were engaged
in harpooning specimens of the great lizards.
Lord John and I had remained in our camp, while
a number of the Indians were scattered about
upon the grassy slope in front of the caves en-
gaged in different ways. Suddenly there was a
shrill cry of alarm, with the word "Stoa" resound-
ing from a hundred tongues. From every side
men, women, and children were rushing wildly
for shelter, swarming up the staircases and into
the caves in a mad stampede.
Looking up, we could see them waving their
arms from the rocks above and beckoning to us to
join them in their refuge. We had both seized
our magazine rifles and ran out to see what the
danger could be. Suddenly from the near belt
of trees there broke forth a group of twelve or
fifteen Indians, running for their lives, and at
their very heels two of those frightful monsters
which had disturbed our camp and pursued me
upon my solitary journey. In shape they were
like horrible toads, and moved in a succession of
springs, but in size they were of an incredible
bulk, larger than the largest elephant. We
had never before seen them save at night, and
indeed they are nocturnal animals save when
disturbed in their lairs, as these had been.
We now stood amazed at the sight, for their
264 The Lost World
blotched and warty skins were of a curious fish-
like iridescence, and the sunlight struck them
with an ever-varying rainbow bloom as they
We had little time to watch them, however, for
in an instant they had overtaken the fugitives
and were making a dire slaughter among them.
Their method was to fall forward with their full
weight upon each in turn, leaving him crushed
and mangled, to bound on after the others. The
wretched Indians screamed with terror, but were
helpless, run as they would, before the relentless
purpose and horrible activity of these monstrous
creatures. One after another they went down,
and there were not half-a-dozen surviving by the
time my companion and I could come to their
help. But our aid was of little avail and only
involved us in the same peril. At the range of a
couple of hundred yards we emptied our maga-
zines, firing bullet after bullet into the beasts, but
with no more effect than if we were pelting them
with pellets of paper. Their slow reptilian na-
tures cared nothing for wounds, and the springs
of their lives, with no special brain center but
scattered throughout their spinal cords, could not
be tapped by any modern weapons. The most
that we could do was to check their progress by
distracting their attention with the flash and roar
of our guns, and so to give both the natives and
ourselves time to reach the steps which led to
safety. But where the conical explosive bullets
of the twentieth century were of no avail, the
Our Eyes Have Seen Wonders 265
poisoned arrows of the natives, dipped in the juice
of strophanthus and steeped afterwards in decayed
carrion, could succeed. Such arrows were of little
avail to the hunter who attacked the beast, be-
cause their action in that torpid circulation was
slow, and before its powers failed it could certainly
overtake and slay its assailant. But now, as the
two monsters hounded us to the very foot of the
stairs, a drift of darts came whistling from every
chink in the cliff above them. In a minute they
were feathered with them, and yet with no sign
of pain they clawed and slobbered with impotent
rage at the steps which would lead them to their
victims, mounting clumsily up for a few yards
and then sliding down again to the ground. But
at last the poison worked. One of them gave a
deep rumbling groan and dropped his huge squat
head on to the earth. The other bounded round
in an eccentric circle with shrill, wailing cries, and
then lying down writhed in agony for some min-
utes before it also stiffened and lay still. With
yells of triumph the Indians came flocking down
from their caves and danced a frenzied dance of
victory round the dead bodies, in mad joy that
two more of the most dangerous of all their ene-
mies had been slain. That night they cut up and
removed the bodies, not to eat for the poison
was still active but lest they should breed a
pestilence. The great reptilian hearts, however,
each as large as a cushion, still lay there, beating
slowly and steadily, with a gentle rise and fall, in
horrible independent life. It was only upon the
266 The Lost World
third day that the ganglia ran down and the
dreadful things were still.
COME day, when I have a better desk than a
meat-tin and more helpful tools than a worn
stub of pencil and a last, tattered note-book, I
will write some fuller account of the Accala In-
dians of our life amongst them, and of the
glimpses which we had of the strange conditions
of wondrous Maple White Land. Memory, at
least, will never fail me, for so long as the breath
of life is in me, every hour and every action of that
period will stand out as hard and clear as do the
first strange happenings of our childhood. No
new impressions could efface those which are so
deeply cut. When the time comes I will describe
that wondrous moonlit night upon the great lake
when a young ichthyosaurus a strange creature,
half seal, half fish, to look at, with bone-covered
eyes on each side of his snout, and a third eye
fixed upon the top of his head was entangled
in an Indian net, and nearly upset our canoe
before we towed it ashore; the same night that a
green water-snake shot out from the rushes and
carried off in its coils the steersman of Challen-
ger's canoe. I will tell, too, of the great nocturnal
white thing to this day we do not know whether
it was beast or reptile which lived in a vile
swamp to the east of the lake, and flitted about
with a faint phosphorescent glimmer in the dark-
ness. The Indians were so terrified at it that
they would not go near the place, and, though we
Our Eyes Have Seen Wonders 267
twice made expeditions and saw it each time, we
could not make our way through the deep marsh
in which it lived. I can only say that it seemed
to be larger than a cow and had the strangest
musky odor. I will tell also of the huge bird
which chased Challenger to the shelter of the rocks
one day a great running bird, far taller than an
ostrich, with a vulture-like neck and cruel head
which made it a walking death. As Challenger
climbed to safety one dart of that savage curving
beak shore off the heel of his boot as if it had
been cut with a chisel. This time at least modern
weapons prevailed and the great creature, twelve
feet from head to foot phororachus its name,
according to our panting but exultant Professor
went down before Lord Roxton's rifle in a flurry
of waving feathers and kicking limbs, with two
remorseless yellow eyes glaring up from the midst
of it. May I live to see that flattened vicious
skull in its own niche amid the trophies of the
Albany. Finally, I will assuredly give some account
of the toxodon, the giant ten-foot guinea pig, with
projecting chisel teeth, which we killed as it drank
in the gray of the morning by the side of the
All this I shall some day write at fuller length,
and amidst these more stirring days I would
tenderly sketch in these lovely summer evenings,
when with the deep blue sky above us we lay in
good comradeship among the long grasses by the
wood and marveled at the strange fowl that
swept over us and the quaint new creatures which
268 The Lost World
crept from their burrows to watch us, while above
us the boughs of the bushes were heavy with
luscious fruit, and below us strange and lovely
flowers peeped at us from among the herbage; or
those long moonlit nights when we lay out upon
the shimmering surface of the great lake and
watched with wonder and awe the huge circles
rippling out from the sudden splash of some
fantastic monster; or the greenish gleam, far
down in the deep water, of some strange creature
upon the confines of darkness. These are the
scenes which my mind and my pen will dwell upon
in every detail at some future day.
CUT, you will ask, why these experiences and
why this delay, when you and your comrades
should have been occupied day and night in the
devising of some means by which you could return
to the outer world ? My answer is, that there was
not one of us who was not working for this end,
but that our work had been in vain. One fact
we had very speedily discovered: The Indians
would do nothing to help us. In every other way
they were our friends one might almost say
our devoted slaves but when it was suggested
that they should help us to make and carry a
plank which would bridge the chasm, or when we
wished to get from them thongs of leather or liana
to weave ropes which might help us, we were met
by a good-humored, but an invincible, refusal.
They would smile, twinkle their eyes, shake their
heads, and there was the end of it. Even the old
Our Eyes Have Seen Wonders 269
chief met us with the same obstinate denial, and
it was only Maretas, the youngster whom we had
saved, who looked wistfully at us and told us by
his gestures that he was grieved for our thwarted
wishes. Ever since their crowning triumph with
the ape-men they looked upon us as supermen,
who bore victory in the tubes of strange weapons,
and they believed that so long as we remained
with them good fortune would be theirs. A little
red-skinned wife and a cave of our own were freely
offered to each of us if we would but forget our
own people and dwell forever upon the plateau.
So far all had been kindly, however far apart our
desires might be; but we felt well assured that
our actual plans of a descent must be kept secret,
for we had reason to fear that at the last they
might try to hold us by force.
In spite of the danger from dinosaurs (which
is not great save at night, for, as I may have said
before, they are mostly nocturnal in their habits)
I have twice in the last three weeks been over to
our old camp in order to see our negro who still
kept watch and ward below the cliff. My eyes
strained eagerly across the great plain in the hope
of seeing afar off the help for which we had prayed.
But the long cactus-strewn levels still stretched
away, empty and bare, to the distant line of the
"They will soon come now, Massa Malone.
Before another week pass Indian come back and
bring rope and fetch you down." Such was the
cheery cry of our excellent Zambo.
270 The Lost World
T HAD one strange experience as I came from this
second visit which had involved my being
away for a night from my companions. I was
returning along the well-remembered route, and
had reached a spot within a mile or so of the marsh
of the pterodactyls, when I saw an extraordinary
object approaching me. It was a man who
walked inside a framework made of bent canes
so that he was enclosed on all sides in a bell-
shaped cage. As I drew nearer I was more amazed
still to see that it was Lord John Roxton. When
he saw me he slipped from under his curious pro-
tection and came towards me laughing, and yet,
as I thought, with some confusion in his manner.
"Well, young fellah," said he, "who would have
thought of meetin' you up here?"
"What in the world are you doing?" I asked.
"Visitin' my friends, the pterodactyls," said he.
"Interestin' beasts, don't you think? But un-
sociable! Nasty rude ways with strangers, as
you may remember. So I rigged this framework
which keeps them from bein' too pressin' in their
"But what do you want in the swamp?"
He looked at me with a very questioning eye,
and I read hesitation in his face.
"Don't you think other people besides Pro-
fessors can want to know things?" he said at last.
"I'm studyin' the pretty dears. That's enough
"No offense," said I.
Our Eyes Have Seen Wonders 271
His good-humor returned and he laughed.
"No offense, young fellah. I'm goin' to get a
young devil chick for Challenger. That's one of
my jobs. No, I don't want your company. I'm
safe in this cage, and you are not. So long, and
I'll be back in camp by night-fall."
He turned away and I left him wandering on
through the wood with his extraordinary cage
If Lord John's behavior at this time was strange,
that of Challenger was more so. I may say that
he seemed to possess an extraordinary fascination
for the Indian women, and that he always carried
a large spreading palm branch with which he beat
them off as if they were flies, when their atten-
tions became too pressing. To see him walking
like a comic opera Sultan, with this badge of
authority in his hand, his black beard bristling in
front of him, his toes pointing at each step, and a
train of wide-eyed Indian girls behind him, clad
in their slender drapery of bark cloth, is one of
the most grotesque of all the pictures which I will
carry back with me. As to Summerlee, he was
absorbed in the insect and bird life of the plateau,
and spent his whole time (save that considerable
portion which was devoted to abusing Challen-
ger for not getting us out of our difficulties) in
cleaning and mounting his specimens.
(CHALLENGER had been in the habit of walk-
ing off by himself every morning and return-
ing from time to time with looks of portentous
272 The Lost World
solemnity, as one who bears the full weight of a
great enterprise upon his shoulders. One day,
palm branch in hand, and his crowd of adoring
devotees behind him, he led us down to his hidden
work-shop and took us into the secret of his
The place was a small clearing in the center of
a palm grove. In this was one of those boiling
mud geysers which I have already described.
Around its edge were scattered a number of
leathern thongs cut from iguanodon hide, and a
large collapsed membrane which proved to be
the dried and scraped stomach of one of the great
fish lizards from the lake. This huge sack had
been sewn up at one end and only a small orifice
left at the other. Into this opening several
bamboo canes had been inserted and the other
ends of these canes were in contact with conical
clay funnels which collected the gas bubbling up
through the mud of the geyser. Soon the flaccid
organ began to slowly expand and show such a
tendency to upward movements that Challenger
fastened the cords which held it to the trunks of
the surrounding trees. In half an hour a good-
sized gas-bag had been formed, and the jerking
and straining upon the thongs showed that it was
capable of considerable lift. Challenger, like a
glad father in the presence of his first-born, stood
smiling and stroking his beard, in silent, self-
satisfied content as he gazed at the creation of his
brain. It was Summerlee who first broke the
Our Eyes Have Seen Wonders 273
"You don't mean us to go up in that thing,
Challenger?" said he, in an acid voice.
"I mean, my dear Summerlee, to give you such
a demonstration of its powers that after seeing it
you will, I am sure, have no hesitation in trusting
yourself to it."
"You can put it right out of your head now,
at once," said Summerlee with decision, "nothing
on earth would induce me to commit such a folly.
Lord John, I trust that you will not countenance
"Dooced ingenious, I call it," said our peer.
"I'd like to see how it works."
"So you shall," said Challenger. "For some
days I have exerted my whole brain force upon
the problem of how we shall descend from these
cliffs. We have satisfied ourselves that we cannot
climb down and that there is no tunnel. We are
also unable to construct any kind of bridge which
may take us back to the pinnacle from which we
came. How then shall I find a means to convey
us? Some little time ago I had remarked to our
young friend here that free hydrogen was evolved
from the geyser. The idea of a balloon naturally
followed. I was, I will admit, somewhat baffled
by the difficulty of discovering an envelope to
contain the gas, but the contemplation of the
immense entrails of these reptiles supplied me with
a solution to the problem. Behold the result!"
He put one hand in the front of his ragged
jacket and pointed proudly with the other.
By this time the gas-bag had swollen to a goodly
274 The Lost World
rotundity and was jerking strongly upon
"Midsummer madness!" snorted Summerlee.
Lord John was delighted with the whole idea.
" Clever old dear, ain't he?" he whispered to me,
and then louder to Challenger. "What about
"The car will be my next care. I have already
planned how it is to be made and attached. Mean-
while I will simply show you how capable my
apparatus is of supporting the weight of each
"All of us, surely?"
"No, it is part of my plan that each in turn
shall descend as in a parachute, and the balloon
be drawn back by means which I shall have no
difficulty in perfecting. If it will support the
weight of one and let him gently down, it will
have done all that is required of it. I will now
show you its capacity in that direction."
He brought out a lump of basalt of a consider-
able size, constructed in the middle so that a cord
could be easily attached to it. This cord was
the one which we had brought with us on to
the plateau after we had used it for climbing the
pinnacle. It was over a hundred feet long, and
though it was thin it was very strong. He had
prepared a sort of collar of leather with many
straps depending from it. This collar was placed
over the dome of the balloon, and the hanging
thongs were gathered together below, so that the
pressure of any weight would be diffused over a
Our Eyes Have Seen Wonders 275
considerable surface. Then the lump of basalt
was fastened to the thongs, and the rope was
allowed to hang from the end of it, being passed
three times round the Professor's arm.
"I will now," said Challenger, with a smile of
pleased anticipation, " demonstrate the carrying
power of my balloon/' As he said so he cut
with a knife the various lashings that held it.
"VTEVER was our expedition in more imminent
danger of complete annihilation. The inflated
membrane shot up with frightful velocity into
the air. In an instant Challenger was pulled off
his feet and dragged after it. I had just time to
throw my arms round his ascending waist when I
was myself whipped up into the air. Lord John
had me with a rat-trap grip round the legs, but I
felt that he also was coming off the ground. For
a moment I had a vision of four adventurers
floating like a string of sausages over the land that
they had explored. But, happily, there were
limits to the strain which the rope would stand,
though none apparently to the lifting powers of
this infernal machine. There was a sharp crack,
and we were in a heap upon the ground with coils
of rope all over us. When we were able to stagger
to our feet we saw far off in the deep blue sky one
dark spot where the lump of basalt was speeding
upon its way.
"Splendid!" cried the undaunted Challenger,
rubbing his injured arm. "" A most thorough and
satisfactory demonstration! I could not have
276 The Lost World
anticipated such a success. Within a week, gentle-
men, I promise that a second balloon will be pre-
pared, and that you can count upon taking in
safety and comfort the first stage of our homeward
So far I have written each of the foregoing events
as it occurred. Now I am rounding off my narra-
tive from the old camp, where Zambo has waited
so long, with all our difficulties and dangers left
like a dream behind us upon the summit of those
vast ruddy crags which tower above our heads.
We have descended in safety, though in a most
unexpected fashion, and all is well with us. In
six weeks or two months we shall be in London,
and it is possible that this letter may not reach
you much earlier than we do ourselves. Already
our hearts yearn and our spirits fly towards the
great mother city which holds so much that is
dear to us.
It was on the very evening of our perilous ad-
venture with Challenger's home-made balloon
that the change came in our fortunes. I have
said that the one person from whom we had had
some sign of sympathy in our attempts to get
away was the young chief whom we had rescued.
He alone had no desire to hold us against our will
in a strange land. He had told us as much by
his expressive language of signs. That evening,
after dusk, he came down to our little camp,
handed me (for some reason he had always shown
his attentions to me, perhaps because I was the
one who was nearest his age) a small roll of the
Our Eyes Have Seen Wonders 277
bark of a tree, and then pointing solemnly up at
the row of caves above him, he had put his finger
to his lips as a sign of secrecy and had stolen back
again to his people.
I took the slip of bark to the firelight and we
examined it together. It was about a foot square,
and on the inner side there was a singular arrange-
ment of lines, which I here reproduce:
JIT* *TTf * t' T
They were neatly done in charcoal upon the white
surface, and looked to me at first sight like some
sort of rough musical score.
"Whatever it is, I can swear that it is of im-
portance to us," said I. "I could read that on
his face as he gave it."
"Unless we have come upon a primitive practi-
cal joker," Summerlee suggested, "which I should
think would be one of the most elementary de-
velopments of man."
"It is clearly some sort of script," said Chal-
"Looks like a guinea puzzle competition," re-
marked Lord John, craning his neck to have a
look at it. Then suddenly he stretched out his
hand and seized the puzzle.
"By George!" he cried, "I believe I've got it.
The boy guessed right the very first time. See
here! How many marks are on that paper?
Eighteen. Well, if you come to think of it there
278 The Lost World
are eighteen cave openings on the hill-side above
"He pointed up to the caves when he gave it to
me," said I.
"Well, that settles it. This is a chart of the
caves. What! Eighteen of them all in a row,
some short, some deep, some branching, same as
we saw them. It's a map, and here's a cross on
it. What's the cross for? It is placed to mark
one that is much deeper than the others."
"One that goes through," I cried.
"I believe our young friend has read the riddle,"
said Challenger. "If the cave does not go through
I do not understand why this person, who has
every reason to mean us well, should have drawn
our attention to it. But if it does go through and
comes out at the corresponding point on the other
side, we should not have more than a hundred
feet to descend."
"A hundred feet!" grumbled Summerlee.
"Well, our rope is still more than a hundred
feet long," I cried. "Surely we could get down."
"How about the Indians in the cave?" Sum-
"There are no Indians in any of the caves above
our heads," said I. "They are all used as barns
and store-houses. Why should we not go up now
at once and spy out the land?"
is a dry bituminous wood upon the
plateau a species of araucaria, according
to our botanist which is always used by the
Our Eyes Have Seen Wonders 279
Indians for torches. Each of us picked up a
faggot of this, and we made our way up weed-
covered steps to the particular cave which was
marked in the drawing. It was, as I had said,
empty, save for a great number of enormous bats,
which flapped round our heads as we advanced
into it. As we had no desire to draw the atten-
tion of the Indians to our proceedings, we stumbled
along in the dark until we had gone round several
curves and penetrated a considerable distance into
the cavern. Then, at last, we lit our torches. It
was a beautiful dry tunnel with smooth gray
walls covered with native symbols, a curved roof
which arched over our heads, and white glisten-
ing sand beneath our feet. We hurried eagerly
along it until, with a deep groan of bitter disap-
pointment, we were brought to a halt. A sheer
wall of rock had appeared before us, with no chink
through which a mouse could have slipped.
There was no escape for us there.
We stood with bitter hearts staring at this
unexpected obstacle. It was [not the result of
any convulsion, as in the case of the ascending
tunnel. The end wall was exactly like the side
ones. It was, and had always been, a cul-de-
"Never mind, my friends," said the indomitable
Challenger. "You have still my firm promise of a
" Can we be in the wrong cave ? " I suggested.
"No use, young fellah," said Lord John, with
280 The Lost World
his finger on the chart. "Seventeen from the
right and second from the left. This is the cave
I looked at the mark to which his finger pointed,
and I gave a sudden cry of joy.
"I believe I have it! Follow me! Follow
I hurried back along the way we had come, my
torch in my hand. "Here," said I, pointing to
some matches upon the ground, "is where we lit
"Well, it is marked as a forked cave, and in the
darkness we passed the fork before the torches
were lit. " On the right side as we go out we should
find the longer arm."
TT was as I had said. We had not gone thirty
yards before a great black opening loomed in
the wall. We turned into it to find that we were
in a much larger passage than before. Along it
we hurried in breathless impatience for many
hundreds of yards. Then, suddenly, in the black
darkness of the arch in front of us we saw a gleam
of dark red light. We stared in amazement.
A sheet of steady flame seemed to cross the pas-
sage and to bar our way. We hastened towards
it. No sound, no heat, no movement came from
it, but still the great luminous curtain glowed
before us, silvering all the cave and turning the
sand to powdered jewels, until as we drew closer
it discovered a circular edge.
' THE MOON, BY GEORGE ! " CRIED LORD JOHN
"WE ARE THROUGH, BOYS ! "
Our Eyes Have Seen Wonders 281
"The moon, by George!" cried Lord John. "We
are through, boys! We are through!"
It was indeed the full moon which shone straight
down the aperture which opened upon the cliffs.
It was a small rift, not larger than a window, but it
was enough for all our purposes. As we craned our
necks through it we could see that the descent
was not a very difficult one, and that the level
ground was no very great way below us. It was
no wonder that from below we had not observed
the place, as the cliffs curved overhead and an
ascent at the spot would have seemed so impossi-
ble as to discourage close inspection. We satis-
fied ourselves that with the help of our rope we
could find our way down, and then returned, re-
joicing, to our camp to make our preparations
for the next evening.
What we did we had to do quickly and secretly,
since even at this last hour the Indians might hold
us back. Our stores we would leave behind us,
save only our guns and cartridges. But Chal-
lenger had some unwieldy stuff which he ardently
desired to take with him, and one particular pack-
age, of which I may not speak, which gave us
more labor than any. Slowly the day passed,
but when the darkness fell we were ready for our
departure. With much labor we got our things
up the steps, and then, looking back, took one
last long survey of that strange land, soon I fear
to be vulgarized, the prey of hunter and pros-
pector, but to each of us a dreamland of glamor
and romance, a land where we had dared much,
282 The Lost World
suffered much, and learned much our land, as
we shall ever fondly call it. Along upon our left
the neighboring caves each threw out its ruddy
cheery firelight into the gloom. From the slope
below us rose the voices of the Indians as they
laughed and sang. Beyond was the long sweep
of the woods, and in the center, shimmering
vaguely through the gloom, was the great lake,
the mother of strange monsters. Even as we
looked a high whickering cry, the call of some
weird animal, rang clear out of the darkness. It
was the very voice of Maple White Land bidding
us good-bye. We turned and plunged into the
cave which led to home.
Two hours later, we, our packages, and alFwe
owned, were at the foot of the cliff. Save for
Challenger's luggage we had never a difficulty.
Leaving it all where we descended, we started at
once for Zambo's camp. In the early morning we
approached it, but only to find, to our amazement,
not one fire but a dozen upon the plain. The
rescue party had arrived. There were twenty
Indians from the river, with stakes, ropes, and all
that could be useful for bridging the chasm. At
least we shall have no difficulty now in carrying
our packages, when to-morrow we begin to make
our way back to the Amazon.
A ND so, in humble and thankful mood, I close
this account. Our eyes have seen great won-
ders and our souls are chastened by what we have
endured. Each is in his own way a better and
Our Eyes Have Seen Wonders 283
deeper man. It may be that when we reach Para
we shall stop to refit. If we do, this letter will be
a mail ahead. If not, it will reach London on
the very day that I do. In either case, my dear
Mr. McArdle, I hope very soon to shake you by
"A Procession! A Procession I' 9
I SHOULD wish to place upon record here our
gratitude to all our friends upon the Amazon
for the very great [kindness and hospitality
which was shown to us upon our return journey.
Very particularly would I thank Senhor Penalosa
and other officials of the Brazilian Government for
the special arrangements by which we were helped
upon our way, and Senhor Pereira of Para, to whose
forethought we owe the complete outfit for a
decent appearance in the civilized world which
we found ready for us at that town. It seemed a
poor return for all the courtesy which we encount-
ered that we should deceive our hosts and bene-
factors, but under the circumstances we had
really no alternative, and I hereby tell them that
they will only waste their time and their money
if they attempt to follow upon our traces. Even
the names have been altered in our accounts, and
I am very sure that no one, from the most careful
study of them, could come within a thousand
miles of our unknown land.
The excitement which had been caused through
those parts of South America which we had to
traverse was imagined by us to be purely local,
/ A Procession! A Procession! 285
and I can assure our friends in England that we
had no notion of the uproar which the mere rumor
of our experiences had caused through Europe.
It was not until the hernia was within five hun-
dred miles of Southampton that the wireless
messages from paper after paper and agency after
agency, offering huge prices for a short return
message as to our actual results, showed us how
strained was the attention not only of the scien-
tific world but of the general public. It was
agreed among us, however, that no definite state-
ment should be given to the Press until we had
met the members of the Zoological Institute,
since as delegates it was our clear duty to give
our first report to the body from which we had
received our commission of investigation. Thus,
although we found Southampton full of Pressmen,
we absolutely refused to give any information,
which had the natural effect of focussing public
attention upon the meeting which was adver-
tised for the evening of November yth. For this
gathering, the Zoological Hall which had been the
scene of the inception of our task was found to be
far too small, and it was only in the Queen's Hall
in Regent Street that accommodation could be
found. It is now common knowledge the pro-
moters might have ventured upon the Albert Hall
and still found their space too scanty.
It was for the second evening after our arrival
that the great meeting had been fixed. For the
first, we had each, no doubt, our own pressing
personal affairs to absorb us. Of mine I cannot
286 The Lost World
yet speak. It may be that as it stands further
from me I may think of it, and even speak of it,
with less emotion. I have shown the reader in
the beginning of this narrative where lay the
springs of my action. It is but right, perhaps,
that I should carry on the tale and show also the
results. And yet the day may come when I would
not have it otherwise. At least I have been driven
forth to take part in a wondrous adventure, and I
cannot but be thankful to the force that drove me.
A ND now I turn to the last supreme eventful
moment of our adventure. As I was racking
my brain as to how I should best describe it, my
eyes fell upon the issue of my own Journal for the
morning of the 8th of November with the full and
excellent account of my friend and fellow-reporter
Macdona. What can I do better than transcribe
his narrative head-lines and all ? I admit that
the paper was exuberant in the matter, out of
compliment to its own enterprise in sending a
correspondent, but the other great dailies were
hardly less full in their account. Thus, then,
friend Mac in his report:
THE NEW WORLD
GREAT MEETING AT THE QUEEN'S HALL
SCENES OF UPROAR
WHAT WAS IT?
NOCTURNAL RIOT IN REGENT STREET
A Procession! A Procession! 287
"The much-discussed meeting of the Zoological
Institute, convened to hear the report of the Com-
mittee of Investigation sent out last year to South
America to test the assertions made by Professor
Challenger as to the continued existence of pre-
historic life upon that Continent, was held last
night in the greater Queen's Hall, and it is safe to
say that it is likely to be a red letter date in the
history of Science, for the proceedings were of so
remarkable and sensational a character that no
one present is ever likely to forget them." (Oh,
brother scribe Macdona, what a monstrous open-
ing sentence!) "The tickets were theoretically
confined to members and their friends, but the
latter is an elastic term, and long before eight
o'clock, the hour fixed for the commencement of
the proceedings, all parts of the Great Hall were
tightly packed. The general public, however,
which most unreasonably entertained a grievance
at having been excluded, stormed the doors at a
quarter to eight, after a prolonged melee in which
several people were injured, including Inspector
Scoble of H. Division, whose leg was unfortunately
broken. After this unwarrantable invasion, which
not only filled every passage, but even intruded
upon the space set apart for the Press, it is esti-
mated that nearly five thousand people awaited
the arrival of the travelers. When they event-
ually appeared, they took their places in the front
of a platform which already contained all the
leading scientific men, not only of this country,
but of France and of Germany. Sweden was also
288 The Lost World
represented, in the person of Professor Sergius,
the famous Zoologist of the University of Upsala.
TPHE entrance of the four heroes of the occasion
was the signal for a remarkable demonstra-
tion of welcome, the whole audience rising and
cheering for some minutes. An acute observer
might, however, have detected some signs of dis-
sent amid the applause, and gathered that the
proceedings were likely to become more lively
than harmonious. It may safely be prophesied,
however, that no one could have foreseen the
extraordinary turn which they were actually to
"Of the appearance of the four wanderers little
need be said, since their photographs have for
some time been appearing in all the papers. They
bear few traces of the hardships which they are
said to have undergone. Professor Challenger's
beard may be more shaggy, Professor Summer-
lee's features more ascetic, Lord John Roxton's
figure more gaunt, and all three may be burned
to a darker tint than when they left our shores,
but each appeared to be in most excellent health.
As to our own representative, the well-known
athlete and international Rugby football player,
E. D. Malone, he looks trained to a hair, and as he
surveyed the crowd a smile of good-humored con-
tentment pervaded his honest but homely face."
(All right, Mac, wait till I get you alone!)
"When quiet had been restored and the audi-
ence resumed their seats after the ovation which
FIVE THOUSAND PEOPLE AWAITED THE ARRIVAL
OF THE TRAVELERS
A Procession! A Procession 289
they had given to the travelers, the chairman,
the Duke of Durham, addressed the meeting.
'He would not/ he said, 'stand for more than a
moment between that vast assembly and the treat
which lay before them. It was not for him to
anticipate what Professor Summerlee, who was
the spokesman of the committee, had to say to
them, but it was common rumor that their expe-
dition had been crowned by extraordinary success.'
(Applause.) 'Apparently the age of romance was
not dead, and there was common ground upon
which the wildest imaginings of the novelist could
meet the actual scientific investigations of the
searcher for truth. He would only add, before he
sat down, that he rejoiced and all of them
would rejoice that these gentlemen had re-
turned safe and sound from their difficult and
dangerous task, for it cannot be denied that any
disaster to such an expedition would have inflicted
a well-nigh irreparable loss to the cause of Zoologi-
cal science/ (Great applause, in which Professor
Challenger was observed to join.)
"pROFESSOR SUMMERLEE'S rising was the
signal for another extraordinary outbreak of
enthusiasm, which broke out again at intervals
throughout his address. That address will not be
given in extenso in these columns, for the reason
that a full account of the whole adventures of the
expedition is being published as a supplement
from the pen of our own special correspondent.
Some general indications will therefore suffice.
290 The Lost World
Having described the genesis of their journey, and
paid a handsome tribute to his friend Professor
Challenger, coupled with an apology for the in-
credulity with which his assertions, now fully
vindicated, had been received, he gave the actual
course of their journey, carefully withholding such
information as would aid the public in any attempt
to locate this remarkable plateau. Having de-
scribed, in general terms, their course from the
main river up to the time that they actually
reached the base of the cliffs, he enthralled his
hearers by his account of the difficulties encount-
ered by the expedition in their repeated attempts
to mount them, and finally described how they
succeeded in their desperate endeavors, which
cost the lives of their two devoted half-breed
servants." (This amazing reading of the affair
was the result of Summerlee's endeavors to avoid
raising any questionable matter at the meeting.)
"Having conducted his audience in fancy to the
summit, and marooned them there by reason of
the fall of their bridge, the Professor proceeded to
describe both the horrors and the attractions of
that remarkable land. Of personal adventures
he said little, but laid stress upon the rich harvest
reaped by Science in the observations of the won-
derful beast, bird, insect, and plant life of the
plateau. Peculiarly rich in the coleoptera and in
the lepidoptera, forty-six new species of the one
and ninety-four of the other had been secured in
the course of a few weeks. It was, however, in
the larger animals, and especially in the larger
A Procession! A Procession! 291
animals supposed to have been long extinct, that
the interest of the public was naturally centered.
Of these he was able to give a goodly list, but had
little doubt that it would be largely extended
when the place had been more thoroughly investi-
gated. He and his companions had seen at least
a dozen creatures, most of them at a distance,
which corresponded with nothing at present known
to Science. These would in time be duly classi-
fied and examined. He instanced a snake, the
cast skin of which, deep purple in color, was fifty-
one feet in length, and mentioned a white creature,
supposed to be mammalian, which gave forth
well-marked phosphorescence in the darkness;
also a large black moth, the bite of which was
supposed by the Indians to be highly poisonous.
Setting aside these entirely new forms of life, the
plateau was very rich in known prehistoric forms,
dating back in some cases to early Jurassic times.
Among these he mentioned the gigantic and gro-
tesque stegosaurus, seen once by Mr. Malone at a
drinking-place by the lake, and drawn in the
sketch-book of that adventurous American who
had first penetrated this unknown world. He de-
scribed also the iguanodon and the pterodactyl
two of the first of the wonders which they had
encountered. He then thrilled the assembly by
some account of the terrible carnivorous dinosaurs,
which had on more than one occasion pursued
members of the party, and which were the most
formidable of all the creatures which they had
encountered. Thence he passed to the huge and
292 The Lost World
ferocious bird, the phororachus, and to the great
elk which still roams upon this upland. It was
not, however, until he sketched the mysteries of
the central lake that the full interest and enthu-
siasm of the audience were aroused. One had to
pinch oneself to be sure that one was awake as
one heard this sane and practical Professor in cold
measured tones describing the monstrous three-
eyed fish-lizards and the huge water-snakes which
inhabit this enchanted sheet of water. Next he
touched upon the Indians, and upon the extraor-
dinary colony of anthropoid apes, which might
be looked upon as an advance upon the pithecan-
thropus of Java, and as coming therefore nearer
than any known form to that hypothetical crea-
tion, the missing link. Finally he described,
amongst some merriment, the ingenious but highly
dangerous aeronautic invention of Professor Chal-
lenger, and wound up a most memorable address
by an account of the methods by which the
committee did at last find their way back to
"JT had been hoped that the proceedings would
end there, and that a vote of thanks and
congratulation, moved by Professor Sergius, of
Upsala University, would be duly seconded and
carried ; but it was soon evident that the course of
events was not destined to flow so smoothly.
Symptoms of opposition had been evident from
time to time during the evening, and now Dr.
James Illingworth, of Edinburgh, rose in the
A Procession! A Procession! 293
center of the hall. Dr. Illingworth asked whether
an amendment should not be taken before a
"THE CHAIRMAN: 'Yes, sir, if there must be an
"DR. ILLINGWORTH: "Your Grace, there must
be an amendment.'
'THE CHAIRMAN: "Then let us take it at once/
"PROFESSOR SUMMERLEE (springing to his feet):
* Might I explain, your Grace, that this man is my
personal enemy ever since our controversy in the
Quarterly Journal of Science as to the true nature
"THE CHAIRMAN: 'I fear I cannot go into per-
sonal matters. Proceed/
"Dr. Illingworth was imperfectly heard in part
of his remarks on account of the strenuous oppo-
sition of the friends of the explorers. Some at-
tempts were also made to pull him down. Being
a man of enormous physique, however, and pos-
sessed of a very powerful voice, he dominated the
tumult and succeeded in finishing his speech. It
was clear, from the moment of his rising, that he
had a number of friends and sympathizers in the
hall, though they formed a minority in the audience.
The attitude of the greater part of the public
might be described as one of attentive neutrality.
"Dr. Illingworth began his remarks by express-
ing his high appreciation of the scientific work
both of Professor Challenger and of Professor
Summerlee. He much regretted that any per-
sonal bias should have been read into his remarks.
294 The Lost World
which were entirely dictated by his desire for
scientific truth. His position, in fact, was sub-
stantially the same as that taken up by Professor
Summerlee at the last meeting. At that last
meeting Professor Challenger had made certain
assertions which had been queried by his colleague.
Now this colleague came forward himself with the
same assertions and expected them to rem?*n un-
questioned. Was this reasonable? ('Yes/ 'No/
and prolonged interruption, during which Pro-
fessor Challenger was heard from the Press box
to ask leave from the chairman to put Dr. Illing-
worth into the street.) A year ago one man said
certain things. Now four men said other and
more startling ones. Was this to constitute a
final proof where the matters in question were of
the most revolutionary and incredible character?
There had been recent examples of travelers
arriving from the unknown with certain tales
which had been too readily accepted. Was the
London Zoological Institute to place itself in this
position? He admitted that the members of the
committee were men of character. But human
nature was very complex. Even Professors might
be misled by the desire for notoriety. Like moths,
we all love best to flutter in the light. Heavy-
game shots liked to be in a position to cap the
tales of their rivals, and journalists were not
averse from sensational coups, even when imagi-
nation had to aid fact in the process. Each mem-
ber of the committee had his own motive for
making the most of his results. ('Shame! shame!')
A Procession! A Procession! 295
He had no desire to be offensive. ('You are!'
and interruption.) The corroboration of these
wondrous tales was really of the most slender
description. What did it amount to? Some
photographs. Was it possible that in this age
of ingenious manipulation photographs could be
accepted as evidence? What more? We have
a stbry of a flight and a descent by ropes which
precluded the production of larger specimens. It
was ingenious, but not convincing. It was under-
stood that Lord John Roxton claimed to have the
skull of a phororachus. He could only say that
he would like to see that skull. |
"LORD JOHN ROXTON: 'Is this fellow calling
me a liar?' (Uproar.)
"THE CHAIRMAN: 'Order! order! Dr. Illing-
worth, I must direct you to bring your remarks to
a conclusion and to move your amendment/
"DR. ILLINGWORTH: 'Your Grace, I have more
to say, but I bow to your ruling. I move, then,
that, while Professor Summerlee be thanked for
his interesting address, the whole matter shall be
regarded as 'non-proven' and shall be referred
back to a larger, and possibly more reliable Com-
mittee of Investigation/
"TT is difficult to describe the confusion caused
by this amendment. A large section of the
audience expressed their indignation at such a slur
upon the travelers by noisy shouts of dissent and
cries of, 'Don't put it!' 'Withdraw!' 'Turn
him out!' On the other hand, the malcontents
296 The Lost World
and it cannot be denied that they were fairly
numerous cheered for the amendment, with
cries of ' Order!' ' Chair!' and 'Fair play!' A
scuffle broke out in the back benches, and blows
were freely exchanged among the medical studen ts
who crowded that part of the hall. It was only
the moderating influence of the presence of large"
numbers of ladies which prevented an absolute
riot. Suddenly, however, there was a pause, a
hush, and then complete silence. Professor Chal-
lenger was on his feet. His appearance and
manner are peculiarly arresting, and as he raised
his hand for order the whole audience settled
down expectantly to give him a hearing.
'It will be within the recollection of many
present,' said Professor Challenger, 'that similar
foolish and unmannerly scenes marked the last
meeting at which I have been able to address them.
On that occasion Professor Summerlee was the
chief offender, and though he is now chastened
and contrite, the matter could not be entirely for-
gotten. I have heard to-night similar, but even
more offensive, sentiments from the person who
has just sat down, and though it is a conscious
effort of self-effacement to come down to that
person's mental level, I will endeavor to do so, in
order to allay any reasonable doubt which could
possibly exist in the minds of anyone.' (Laughter
and interruption.) 'I need not remind this audi-
ence that, though Professor Summerlee, as the
head of the Committee of Investigation, has been
put up to speak to-night, still it is I who am the
A Procession! A Procession! 297
real prime mover in this business, and that it is
mainly to me that any successful result must be
ascribed. I have safely conducted these three
gentlemen to the spot mentioned, and I have, as
you have heard, convinced them of the accuracy
of my previous account. We had hoped that we
should find upon our return that no one was so
dense as to dispute our joint conclusions. Warned,
however, by my previous experience, I have not
come without such proofs as may convince a
reasonable man. As explained by Professor Sum-
merlee, our cameras have been tampered with by
the ape-men when they ransacked our camp, and
most of our negatives ruined.' (Jeers, laughter,
and 'Tell us another!' from the back.) 'I have
mentioned the ape-men, and I cannot forbear
from saying that some of the sounds which now
meet my ears bring back most vividly to my
recollection my experiences with those interesting
creatures.' (Laughter.) 'In spite of the destruc-
tion of so many invaluable negatives, there still
remains in our collection a certain number of cor-
roborative photographs showing the conditions
of life upon the plateau. Did they accuse them
of having forged these photographs?' (A voice,
'Yes,' and considerable interruption which ended
in several men being put out of the hall.) 'The
negatives were open to the inspection of experts.
But what other evidence had they? Under the
conditions of their escape it was naturally impossi-
ble to bring a large amount of baggage, but they
had rescued Professor Summerlee's collections of
298 The Lost World
butterflies and beetles, containing many new
species. Was this not evidence ? ' (Several voices,
'No.') 'Who said no?'
"DR. ILLINGWORTH (rising): 'Our point is that
such a collection might have been made in other
places than a prehistoric plateau.' (Applause.)
"PROFESSOR CHALLENGER: 'No doubt, sir, we
have to bow to your scientific authority, although
I must admit that the name is unfamiliar. Passing,
then, both the photographs and the entomological
collection, I come to the varied and accurate
information which we bring with us upon points
which have never before been elucidated. For
example, upon the domestic habits of the ptero-
dactyl ' (A voice : * Bosh,' and uproar) ' I say,
that upon the domestic habits of the pterodactyl
we can throw a flood of light. I can exhibit to
you from my portfolio a picture of that creature
taken from life which would convince you
"DR. ILLINGWORTH: 'No picture could con-
vince us of anything.'
"PROFESSOR CHALLENGER: 'You would require
to see the thing itself?'
"DR. ILLINGWORTH: 'Undoubtedly/
"PROFESSOR CHALLENGER: 'And you would
"DR. ILLINGWORTH (laughing): 'Beyond a
' JT was at this point that the sensation of the
evening arose a sensation so dramatic that
it can never have been paralleled in the history
A Procession! A Procession! 299
of scientific gatherings. Professor Challenger
raised his hand in the air as a signal, and at once
our colleague, Mr. E. D. Malone, was observed to
rise and to make his way to the back of the plat-
form. An instant later he re-appeared in com-
pany of a gigantic negro, the two of them bearing
between them a large square packing-case. It
was evidently of great weight, and was slowly
carried forward and placed in front of the Pro-
fessor's chair. All sound had hushed in the audi-
ence and everyone was absorbed in the spectacle
before them. Professor Challenger drew off the
top of the case, which formed a sliding lid. Peer-
ing down into the box he snapped his fingers
several times and was heard from the Press seat
to say, 'Come, then, pretty, pretty!' in a coaxing
voice. An instant later, with a scratching, rat-
tling sound, a most horrible and loathsome crea-
ture appeared from below and perched itself upon
the side of the case. Even the unexpected fall of
the Duke of Durham into the orchestra, which
occurred at this moment, could not distract the
petrified attention of the vast audience. The face
of the creature was like the wildest gargoyle that
the imagination of a mad medieval builder could
have conceived. It was malicious, horrible, with
two small red eyes as bright as points of burning
coal. Its long, savage mouth, which was held
half-open, was full of a double row of shark-like
teeth. Its shoulders were humped, and round
them were draped what appeared to be a faded
gray shawl. It was the devil of our childhood in
The Lost World
person. There was a turmoil in the audience
someone screamed, two ladies in the front row fell
senseless from their chairs, and there was a gen-
eral movement upon the platform to follow their
chairman into the orchestra. For a moment there
was danger of a general panic. Professor Chal-
lenger threw up his hands to still the commotion,
but the movement alarmed the creature beside
him. Its strange shawl suddenly unfurled, spread,
and fluttered as a pair of leathery wings. Its
owner grabbed at its legs, but too late to hold it.
It had sprung from the perch and was circling
slowly round the Queen's Hall with a dry, leathery
flapping of its ten-foot wings, while a putrid and
insidious odor pervaded the room. The cries of
the people in the galleries, who were alarmed at
the near approach of those glowing eyes and that
murderous beak, excited the creature to a frenzy.
Faster and faster it flew, beating against walls
and chandeliers in a blind frenzy of alarm. 'The
window! For heaven's sake shut that window!'
roared the Professor from the platform, dancing
and wringing his hands in an agony of apprehen-
sion. Alas, his warning was too late! In a mo-
ment the creature, beating and bumping along
the wall like a huge moth within a gas-shade,
came upon the opening, squeezed its hideous bulk
through it, and was gone. Professor Challenger fell
back into his chair with his face buried in his hands,
while the audience gave one long, deep sigh of
relief as they realized that the incident was
A Procession! A Procession 301
"'"THEN oh! how shall one describe what
took place then when the full exuber-
ance of the majority and the full reaction of the
minority united to make one great wave of en-
thusiasm, which rolled from the back of the hall,
gathering volume as it came, swept over the
orchestra, submerged the platform, and carried
the four heroes away upon its crest?" (Good fot
you, Mac!) "If the audience had done less than
justice, surely it made ample amends. Every
one was on his feet. Every one was moving,
shouting, gesticulating. A dense crowd of cheer-
ing men were round the four travelers. 'Up
with them! up with them!' cried a hundred voices.
In a moment four figures shot up above the crowd.
In vain they strove to break loose. They were
held in their lofty places of honor. It would have
been hard to let them down if it had been wished,
so dense was the crowd around them. ' Regent
Street! Regent Street!' sounded the voices.
There was a swirl in the packed multitude, and a
slow current, bearing the four upon their shoul-
ders, made for the door. Out in the street the
scene was extraordinary. An assemblage of not
less than a hundred thousand people was waiting.
The close-packed throng extended from the other
side of the Langham Hotel to Oxford Circus. A
roar of acclamation greeted the four adventurers
as they appeared, high above the heads of the
people, under the vivid electric lamps outside
the hall. 'A procession! A procession!' was the
cry. In a dense phalanx, blocking the streets
The Lost World
from side to side, the crowd set forth, taking the
route of Regent Street, Pall Mall, St. James's
Street, and Piccadilly. The whole central traffic
of London was held up, and many collisions were
reported between the demonstrators upon the
one side and the police and taxi-cabmen upon the
other. Finally, it was not until after midnight
that the four travelers were released at the en-
trance to Lord John Roxton's chambers in the
Albany, and that the exuberant crowd, having
sung 'They are Jolly Good Fellows' in chorus,
concluded their program with 'God Save the King/
So ended one of the most remarkable evenings
that London has seen for a considerable time."
QO far my friend Macdona; and it may be
taken as a fairly accurate, if florid, account
of the proceedings. As to the main incident, it
was a bewildering surprise to the audience, but not,
I need hardly say, to us. The reader will remem-
ber how I met Lord John Roxton upon the very
occasion when, in his protective crinoline, he had
gone to bring the "Devil's chick" as he called it,
for Professor Challenger. I have hinted also at
the trouble which the Professor's baggage gave
us when we left the plateau, and had I described
our voyage I might have said a good deal of the
worry we had to coax with putrid fish the appetite
of our filthy companion. If I have not said much
about it before, it was, of course, that the Pro-
fessor's earnest desire was that no possible rumor
of the unanswerable argument which we carried
A Procession! A Procession! 303
should be allowed to leak out until the moment
came when his enemies were to be confuted.
One word as to the fate of the London ptero-
dactyl. Nothing can be said to be certain upon
this point. There is the evidence of two fright-
ened women that it perched upon the roof of the
Queen's Hall and remained there like a diabolical
statue for some hours. The next day it came out
in the evening papers that Private Miles, of the
Coldstream Guards, on duty outside Marlborough
House, had deserted his post without leave, and
was therefore courtmartialed. Private Miles'
account, that he dropped his rifle and took to his
heels down the Mall because on looking up he
had suddenly seen the devil between him and the
moon, was not accepted by the Court, and yet it
may have a direct bearing upon the point at issue.
The only other evidence which I can adduce
is from the log of the SS. Friesland, a Dutch-
American liner, which asserts that at nine next
morning, Start Point being at the time ten miles
upon their starboard quarter, they were passed by
something between a flying goat and a monstrous
bat, which was heading at a prodigious pace south
and west. If its homing instinct led it upon the
right line, there can be no doubt that somewhere
out in the wastes of the Atlantic the last European
pterodactyl found its end.
Gladys oh, my Gladys !-- Gladys of
the mystic lake, now to be re-named the Cen-
tral, for never shall she have immortality through
304 The Lost World
me. Did I not always see some hard fiber in her
nature? Did I not, even at the time when I was
proud to obey her behest, feel that it was surely a
poor love which could drive a lover to his death
or the danger of it? Did I not, in my truest
thoughts, always recurring and always dismissed,
see past the beauty of the face, and, peering into
the soul, discern the twin shadows of selfishness
and of fickleness glooming at the back of it ? Did
she love the heroic and the spectacular for its
own noble sake, or was it for the glory which
might, without effort or sacrifice, be reflected
upon herself? Or are these thoughts the vain
wisdom which comes after the event ? It was the
shock of my life. For a moment it had turned
me to a cynic. But already, as I write, a week
has passed, and we have had our momentous inter-
view with Lord John Roxton and well, perhaps
things might be worse.
Let me tell it in a few words. No letter or tele-
gram had come to me at Southampton, and I
reached the little villa at Streatham about ten
o'clock that night in a fever of alarm. Was she
dead or alive ? Where were all my nightly dreams
of the open arms, the smiling face, the words of
praise for her man who had risked his life to
humor her whim ? Already I was down from the
high peaks and standing flat-footed upon earth.
Yet some good reasons given might still lift me
to the clouds once more. I rushed down the gar-
den path, hammered at the door, heard the voice
of Gladys within, pushed past the staring maid,
A Procession! A Procession! 305
and strode into the sitting-room. She was seated
in a low settee under the shaded standard lamp
by the piano. In three steps I was across the
room and had both her hands in mine.
"Gladys!" I cried, "Gladys!"
She looked up with amazement in her face.
She was altered in some subtle way. The ex-
pression of her eyes, the hard upward stare, the
set of the lips, was new to me. She drew back
"What do you mean?" she said.
"Gladys!" I cried. "What is the matter?
You are my Gladys, are you not little Gladys
"No," said she, "I am Gladys Potts. Let me
introduce you to my husband."
How absurd life is! I found myself mechani-
cally bowing and shaking hands with a little
ginger-haired man who was coiled up in the deep
arm-chair which had once been sacred to my own
use. We bobbed and grinned in front of each
" Father lets us stay here. We are getting our
house ready, " said Gladys.
"Oh, yes," said I.
"You didn't get my letter at Para, then?"
"No, I got no letter."
"Oh, what a pity! It would have made all
"It is quite clear," said I.
"I've told William all about you," said she.
"We have no secrets. I am so sorry about it.
306 The Lost World
But it couldn't have been so very deep, could it,
if you could go off to the other end of the world
and leave me here alone. You're not crabby, are
"No, no, not at all. I think I'll go."
"Have some refreshment," said the little man,
and he added, in a confidential way, "It's always
like this, ain't it? And must be unless you had
polygamy, only the other way round ; you under-
stand." He laughed like an idiot, while I made
for the door.
I was through it, when a sudden fantastic im-
pulse came upon me, and I went back to my suc-
cessful rival, who looked nervously at the electric
"Will you answer a question?" I asked.
"Well, within reason," said he.
"How did you do it? Have you searched for
hidden treasure, or discovered a pole, or done
time on a pirate, or flown the Channel, or what ?
Where is the glamor of romance ? How did you
He stared at me with a hopeless expression upon
his vacuous, good-natured, scrubby little face.
"Don't you think all this is a little too per-
sonal?" he said.
"Well, just one question," I cried. "What are
you? What is your profession?"
"I am a solicitor's clerk," said he. "Second
man at Johnson and Meri vale's, 41 Chancery
"Good-night!" said I, and vanished, like all
A Procession! A Procession! 307
disconsolate and broken-hearted heroes, into the
darkness, with grief and rage and laughter all
simmering within me like a boiling pot.
more little scene, and I have done. Last
night we all supped at Lord John Roxton's
rooms, and sitting together afterwards we smoked
in good comradeship and talked our adventures
over. It was strange under these altered sur-
roundings to see the old, well-known faces and
figures. There was Challenger, with his smile of
condescension, his drooping eyelids, his intol-
erant eyes, his aggressive beard, his huge chest,
swelling and puffing as he laid down the law to
Summerlee. And Summerlee, too, there he was
with his short briar between his thin moustache
and his gray goat's-beard, his worn face protruded
in eager debate as he queried all Challenger's
propositions. Finally, there was our host, with
his rugged, eagle face, and his cold, blue, glacier
eyes with always a shimmer of devilment and of
humor down in the depths of them. Such is the
last picture of them that I have carried away.
It was after supper, in his own sanctum the
room of the pink radiance and the innumerable
trophies that Lord John Roxton had something
to say to us. From a cupboard he had brought
an old cigar-box, and this he laid before him on
"There's one thing," said he, "that maybe I
should have spoken about before this, but I
wanted to know a little more clearly where
308 The Lost World
I was. No use to raise hopes and let them down
again. But it's facts, not hopes, with us now.
You may remember that day we found the pter-
odactyl rookery in the swamp what? Well,
somethin' in the lie of the land took my notice.
Perhaps it has escaped you, so I will tell you. It
was a volcanic vent full of blue clay."
The Professors nodded.
"Well, now, in the whole world I've only had to
do with one place that was a volcanic vent of blue
clay. That was the great De Beers Diamond
Mine of Kimberley what ? So you see I got
diamonds into my head. I rigged up a contrap-
tion to hold off those stinking beasts, and I spent
a happy day there with a spud. This is what I
He opened his cigar-box, and tilting it over he
poured about twenty or thirty rough stones,
varying from the size of beans to that of chestnuts,
on the table.
"Perhaps you think I should have told you
then. Well, so I should, only I know there are a
lot of traps for the unwary, and that stones may
be of any size and yet of little value where color
and consistency are clean off. Therefore, I
brought them back, and on the first day at home
I took one round to Spink's, and asked him to
have it roughly cut and valued."
He took a pill-box from his pocket, and spilled
out of it a beautiful glittering diamond, one of the
finest stones that I have ever seen.
"There's the result," said he. "He prices the
A Procession! A Procession! 309
lot at a minimum of two hundred thousand pounds.
Of course it is fair shares between us. I won't
hear of anythin' else. Well, Challenger, what
will you do with your fifty thousand?"
"If you really persist in your generous view,"
said the Professor, "I should found a private
museum, which has long been one of my dreams."
"And you, Summerlee?"
" I would retire from teaching, and so find time
for my final classification of the chalk fossils."
"I'll use my own," said Lord John Roxton,
"in fitting a well-formed expedition and having
another look at the dear old plateau. As to you,
young fellah, you, of course, will spend yours in
- "Not just yet," said I, with a rueful smile. "I
think, if you will have me, that I would rather go
Lord Roxton said nothing, but a brown hand
was stretched out to me across the table.